GOP lawyer files FEC complaint against Trump

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A Republican lawyer working on behalf of outside groups supporting Jeb Bush for president filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday alleging that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBenghazi panel offers new details on attack in 800-page report Poll: Clinton more trusted on terrorism than Trump Obama: Trump ‘embodies global elites’ MORE is illegally mixing his campaign interests with corporate business.



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The complaint is in response to a letter a lawyer for The Trump Organization sent to the top donor for Bush’s super-PAC and the principal for an associated leadership PAC, warning that Trump will take legal action to prevent the dissemination of campaign ads that are critical of him or his company.



Charlie Spies, a lawyer who is advising the pro-Bush political action committees, argued in a return letter obtained by The Hill that Trump’s threats violate the FEC’s “prohibition on a federal candidate’s use of corporate resources for campaign purposes.”



“Although your client may think he is above the law and be accustomed to using lawsuits to bail out his failed business deals, the Federal Election Campaign Act and the FEC’s Regulations nonetheless apply to him and his campaign,” Spies writes.



“Perhaps the attached complaint, filed today, will serve as a reminder of your client’s legal obligations under federal election laws,” the letter continues. “Just as your client is attempting to quickly learn the basics of foreign policy, we wish you personally the best in your attempts to learn election law.”



The FEC complaint argues that The Trump Organization’s use of its in-house legal team for his campaign is a violation of laws that prohibit “acceptance of corporate contributions and resources” in connection with a presidential campaign.


Last week, Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten sent a warning letter to individuals associated with a pro-Bush leadership PAC, Right to Rise, and a pro-Bush super-PAC, Right to Rise USA, in the wake of rumors that the super-PAC intended to run ads critical of Trump.



“In the event your ads contain any false, misleading, defamatory, inaccurate or otherwise tortuous statements concerning Mr. Trump, his businesses or his brand, we will not hesitate to seek immediate legal action to prevent such distribution and hold you jointly and severally liable to the fullest extent of the law for any damages resulting there from … and will look forward to doing it,” the letter stated.



Garten has sent a similar letter to the fiscally conservative group the Club for Growth, which is running ads against Trump.



Spies responded in the FEC complaint:

 “It is clear that Trump and his agents have explicitly directed his corporate attorneys at the organization to do the dirty work for the campaign. The Organization’s rendering of these legal services, at no apparent cost to the campaign … constitute prohibited corporate in-kind contributions.”



A spokesman for the Trump campaign has not returned a request for comment.

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