After four years and a seemingly never ending presidential election, the Trump family hoped to carry out one last multi-million dollar grift before leaving the White House next month. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner reportedly helped set up a shell company to secretly pay Trump family members more than half of the $1.26 billion raised for the president’s reelection campaign.
Kushner helped create the company in April 2018, and appointed Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump as the president, Vice President Mike Pence's nephew John Pence as its vice president, and Trump campaign CFO Sean Dollman as its treasurer and secretary, Business Insider reports. As one former Trump 2016 campaign advisor told the outlet, “Nothing was done without Jared's approval.”
Campaign finance records show that Trump’s reelection effort along with its Republican National Committee affiliate spent more than $600 million through the shell company, which was incorporated under the name American Made Media Consultants Corporation and American Made Media Consultants LLC (AMMC).
In July, the nonpartisan watchdog group Campaign Legal Center filed an 82-page complaint with the Federal Election Commission. The complaint accuses the Trump campaign of disguising “nearly $170 million of campaign spending by laundering the funds through firms headed by Trump’s” former campaign manager Brad Parscale, “and/or created by Trump campaign lawyers.”
According to Insider, Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg — who previously worked with the law firm that helped Romney with a workaround during his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns to purchase TV ads — suggested that Parscale do something similar for the Trump campaign. Kushner would later sign off on the plan as a result. When reached for comment, Ginsberg told the outlet, “Can't help you with this.”
The Campaign Legal Center complaint further alleges that the scheme disguised “millions of dollars in payments to companies engaged in significant work in the campaign” as well as to Trump family members, including Lara Trump and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle. A campaign spokesperson has denied the claims that AMMC paid Lara Trump or John Pence for being on the board, but the whole thing is certainly messy and suspicious.
Furthermore, reports suggest that the shell company served as a cover for financial and operational details that the campaign wanted to keep hidden from the public, while allegedly laundering millions of dollars to the president’s top advisors and family. Brendan Fischer, the director of federal reform for the Campaign Legal Center told Insider that the payments to AMMC are a "scheme to evade telling voters even the basics on where its money is really going" and a "shield to disguise the ultimate recipients of its spending."
The accusations may already be the subject of a criminal investigation within the Department of Justice, which would leave Trump vulnerable to an expansive legal disaster upon his departure from the White House because, no, he can't actually pardon himself before leaving office — a shame for him, really, since it seems like there's quite a few criminal activities in which he and his family are directly implicated. But, you know, good for America and anyone who believes people should face in consequences for their actions.