FEC dismisses complaint alleging Trump Org made illegal Trump campaign contribution

FEC dismisses complaint alleging Trump Org made illegal Trump campaign contribution
© Greg Nash

Federal Election Commission (FEC) officials wrote in documents released Friday that the Trump Organization may have made an illegal contribution to the Trump campaign by having a staffer assist Melania TrumpMelania TrumpOvernight Defense: Trump says he won't declare emergency 'so fast' | Shutdown on track to become longest ever | Military begins withdrawing equipment from Syria | Bolton taps new deputy Bolton names replacement for deputy who clashed with first lady The Hill's Morning Report — Groundhog Day: Negotiations implode as shutdown reaches 20 days MORE with her speech at the Republican National Convention, but dismissed the complaint because the action was too minor to be considered a violation of law.

FEC lawyers wrote in an April 2017 filing, first made public on Friday, that Trump Organization employee Meredith McIver’s assistance in writing Trump’s July 2016 speech may have resulted in “a corporate contribution to the Committee.”

However, commissioners wrote that because the value of such services appeared to be too minor for consideration, the commission decided to dismiss the allegation.

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Trump’s speech sparked backlash after it was found to have included words and phrases identical to former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaJulián Castro: No one can ‘out-gutter’ Trump The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Day 27 of the shutdown | Cohen reportedly paid company to rig online polls, boost his own image | Atlantic publishes ‘Impeach Donald Trump’ cover story Ex-Michelle Obama aide says O'Rourke's road trip is a 'listening tour' in form of a travel blog MORE’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

McIver took blame for the speech following the outcry.

The complaint had alleged that the Trump Organization, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE and the Trump campaign had violated federal law by not compensating McIver for her services in advance, instead paying her after the speech was given.

President Trump, according to the filing, said he paid for McIver's services — totaling $356.01 — with "personal funds and then contributed those services to the Committee as an in-kind candidate contribution."

The committee's monthly disclosure report from August 2016 shows a receipt for a $23,775.50 contribution from Trump on July 23, 2016, in the form of "IN-KIND: PAYROLL." The memo entry shows that $356.01 was made for "PAYROLL" for McIver.

The complaint also stated that the Trump Organization may have been helping the campaign in other ways after McIver used Trump Organization letterhead to publicly admit to her involvement in writing the speech.

The commissioners found that beyond the use of the letterhead, the complaint “provided no facts indicating that the Trump Organization used its resources or facilities to engage in any fundraising activities in connection with any federal election.”

The FEC also rejected a claim that McIver’s alleged travel to the Republican National Convention violated campaign law, saying there was no evidence that she actually traveled to the convention.