Former President Donald Trump has been accused in a complaint of violating campaign finance laws by raising and spending political funds for a 2024 presidential bid without declaring his candidacy in order to dodge reporting regulations and restrictions.
“Trump has been illegally using his multi-candidate leadership PAC to raise and spend funds in excess of [Federal Election] Commission limits for the purpose of advancing a 2024 presidential campaign,” said the complaint filed early this week by American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC.
Money has already been used for “payments for events at Trump properties, rallies featuring Mr. Trump, consulting payments to former Trump campaign staff, and digital advertising about Mr. Trump’s events and his presumptive 2024 opponent,” the complaint states.
Trump was required by law to file a candidacy intent statement within 15 days of receiving contributions or making any expenditure over $5,000. Filing triggers restrictions on how Trump could raise and spend campaign funds, including his existing war chest.
“Trump has played footsie with the Federal Election Campaign Act for months,” the group said, pointing out that the former president, through his Save America PAC, has spent more than $100,000 per week on Facebook ads “and has consistently raised more than $1 million per week — a “clear violation” of campaign finance law and precedent established” by the FEC.
Trump, who holds periodic rallies to sing his own praises to supporters, has acknowledged that he will delay announcing his candidacy to sidestep campaign finance regulations. The law is intended to require transparency on who is bankrolling candidates, and by how much, and who consequently may be exerting significant influence on a candidate’s politics and future actions in office.
During a tour last September of a Manhattan police precinct near Trump Tower, he was asked by an officer on video if was going to run for president again. Trump teased: “Oh, that’s a tough question.”
Then he added: “Actually, for me, it’s an easy question. I mean, I know what I’m going to do. But we’re not supposed to be talking about it yet from the standpoint of campaign finance laws, which, frankly, are ridiculous. But I think you’re going to be very happy.”
American Bridge wants the FEC to compel disclosure of Trump’s expenditures and fine him “the maximum amount permitted by law.”
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich told The Associated Press that the complaint was without merit and accused Democrats of resorting to “cheap gimmicks.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.