CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal News Blog

FEC: Trump Campaign May Have Accepted $1.3M in Illegal Donations

A letter from the Federal Election Commission to Donald Trump's presidential campaign cited over 1,000 donations that may have violated various campaign finance laws, totaling around $1.3 million in campaign funds. The letter, which you can read in full below, alleges Trump accepted donations from unregistered political groups and that individual donations exceeded legal limits.

According to CNN, these letters aren't uncommon, and Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders both received similar notices in the past.

Request for Information Essential to Full Public Disclosure

The FEC's letter cites five areas where the commission found Trump's October report of donations to be problematic:

  1. Contributions from organizations that aren't a political committee registered with the
    Commission;
  2. Contributions that appear to exceed the $2,700 limit for certain political committees;
  3. Contributions that appear to exceed the $2,700 limit for certain individuals;
  4. Refunds to individuals that exceeded the amount of the original contribution or were for original contributions that were designated to different elections than the refunds; and
  5. In-kind contributions that may not have been itemized in other reports.

The FEC is giving Trump's campaign until December 27 to respond to the letter or face an audit or enforcement action.

Itemized Donations

The letter also lists the donations at issue, including over $10,000 from unregistered organizations and another $5,000 from "committees not qualified for multi-candidate status." The letter goes on to name hundreds of individual contributors whose donations exceeded federal limits, including their names and donation amounts. The Trump campaign can correct errors or clarify donations listed in the letter: "If any apparently prohibited contribution in question was incompletely or incorrectly disclosed, you should amend your original report with clarifying information," it states, adding, "If any apparently excessive contribution in question was incompletely or incorrectly disclosed, you must amend your original report with the clarifying information."

You can read the entire letter here:

FEC Request for Disclosure by FindLaw on Scribd