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First the Feds Fined Clinton. Now It Might Be Trump’s Turn.

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When it came out last week that the Federal Election Commission fined Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee for misreporting political payments in 2016 that funded the explosive Steele dossier, the news attracted plenty of media attention. The penalties themselves, however, had nothing to do with the actual content, creation, or distribution of that infamous document.

Instead, the FEC dinged the Democrats on a clerical issue. And the real loser might actually be Donald Trump.

By coincidence, the same day the Clinton news broke, a watchdog group sued the FEC for taking no action on its complaint alleging that Trump’s 2020 campaign committed the exact same clerical violation. In both cases, the campaigns allegedly reported payments to a pass-through that actually went to another entity, concealing the money’s true recipient and purpose from the public.

But there’s a big difference. The alleged Clinton and DNC shell payments totaled less than a million dollars, combined. The Trump campaign’s arrangement allegedly concealed nearly $800 million.

For the FEC’s critics, the timing couldn’t have been better.

The FEC—specifically its three Republican commissioners, those critics say—appears congenitally incapable of acting against the former president. Data suggests there’s more than a kernel of truth to that claim.

Just last month, a Daily Beast investigation found that the FEC had never taken action on a stunning 43 complaints against Trump. Along the way, the Republican commissioners frequently rejected their own general counsel, who often found reason to believe that violations had indeed occurred. In many cases, the GOP refused even to open an investigation.

Dan Weiner, a former counsel at the FEC who now directs the Brennan Center’s Elections and Government Program, said the Republican commissioners will have to........

© The Daily Beast

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