Trump Inaugural Committee Recklessly Evaded Federal Law’s Donor Disclosure Requirements
FEC should penalize committee for failing to accurately collect and report donor information
WASHINGTON – The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a complaint today with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that the inaugural committee for President Donald Trump violated federal law by failing to collect and report essential information about donors, in many cases failing to even ask for required information like addresses.
“The Trump inaugural committee raised more money than any other in history but recklessly disregarded the law’s disclosure requirements,” said Brendan Fischer, federal and FEC reform program director at the Campaign Legal Center. “It appears that Trump’s inaugural committee failed to collect information from some donors, failed to verify false addresses from others, and may have even made up information that it certified to the FEC as true and correct. Ignoring the law’s reporting requirements prevents the public from exercising their right to know who is seeking to influence the administration through donations to the inaugural committee. The FEC should ensure that committees take transparency more seriously in the future.”
“It appears that the Trump Inaugural Committee did not take even a minimal level of care to meet its legal obligation to submit accurate financial disclosure reports to the FEC identifying the sources of the millions of dollars it raised,” said Donald Simon, general counsel of Democracy 21. “This failure deprived the public of important information it is entitled to about who contributed what to pay for President Trump’s inauguration. It also violates the reporting provisions of the law. The FEC should investigate the Committee’s shoddy reporting, ensure that the Committee file accurate reports and impose sufficient sanctions to deter similar violations in the future.”
The complaint follows reporting by the Huffington Post and other outlets that showed the Trump inaugural committee’s 500-page report was rife with errors. Inaugural committees must file a disclosure report with the FEC within 90 days of the inaugural ceremony disclosing the name and address of all donors that contribute anything of value above $200.
CLC also filed a complaint with the FEC on March 2 alleging President Trump’s campaign committee attempted to evade contribution limits by falsely reporting donations raised after Election Day for “debt retirement,” even though no such net debt existed. Last month, following CLC’s complaint, the Trump campaign committee altered its FEC filing, redesignating thousands of entries that CLC had flagged.