Pro-Trump group linked to Breitbart may have broken election law: expert
A group tied to Breitbart News that was meant to boost President Trump’s support among urban and African-American communities may have violated election law, according to a former Federal Election Commission (FEC) general counsel.
Lawrence Noble, who served at the FEC during both GOP and Democratic administrations, told Bloomberg News that descriptions of the group “Trump for Urban Communities” from the group’s founder, Bruce Carter, raise questions as to whether the group’s financial dealings violated campaign finance laws.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Carter, who previously founded the pro-Bernie Sanders group “Black Men for Bernie,” described himself as recruited by Breitbart reporter Dustin Stockton supposedly on behalf of the Trump campaign to encourage black voters to either stay home or support Trump over his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, on Election Day.
A whistleblower from Cambridge Analytica told lawmakers earlier this month that the Trump campaign coordinated with his data company in an effort to suppress the black vote.
“If you can’t stomach Trump, just don’t vote for the other people and don’t vote at all,” Carter described the message the Trump campaign wanted him to spread. “That’s what they wanted, that’s what they got.”
Carter’s group did not report its finances, which he says he believed he was not required to do as a member of the campaign. However, his group took donations including at least one as large as $100,000 from a supporter, which far exceeds the legal $2,700 limit of contributions to a group that coordinates with a campaign.
“There are some real problems here,” Noble, who now works at the Campaign Legal Center, told Bloomberg. “I would think this is more than enough evidence for the FEC to open an investigation.”
The Trump campaign and former Breitbart chairman Stephen Bannon did not respond to requests for comment from Bloomberg, but the former Breitbart News chief dismissed allegations that he attempted to suppress the black vote in 2016 in an interview with the news outlet last week.
“When you ask them why they didn’t vote for her or why they didn’t turn up, it’s because they didn’t like [Clinton’s] policies,” Bannon said.