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Republican deals blow to Donald Trump's PAC

Republican deals blow to Donald Trump's PAC

 


A political action committee (PAC) supporting Donald Trump's presidential campaign has received a major blow from Wisconsin's bipartisan ethics commission, which has recommended it face criminal charges for allegedly trying to skirting campaign finance laws to support a challenger to an anti-Trump Republican.

The commission released its report Friday on allegations that the Save America PAC joined forces to illegally donate tens of thousands of dollars to the campaign of Adam Steen, who challenged Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Yours, in 2022.

The relationship between Trump and Vos, a Republican, deteriorated after he said there was no way to decertify the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump claimed were stolen via voter fraud widespread despite the lack of substantial evidence.

The bipartisan Ethics Commission is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Commission Chairman Pat Strachota, a Republican who previously served as Speaker of the Assembly, approved the order recommending charges against the PAC. Two-thirds of the commission is required for any action, meaning at least one Republican member has agreed to recommend the charges.

The commission found “probable cause” that the PAC engaged in efforts to illegally direct at least $40,000 to Steen's campaign and referred the charges to local prosecutors, according to orders reviewed by Newsweek on Friday.

Although individuals can only donate up to $1,000 to political candidates in Wisconsin, political parties can make unlimited donations. In an alleged scheme to circumvent this law, individuals seeking to provide more than $1,000 to Steen's campaign would donate to local parties in the county, indicating that the donation was intended for Steen, and the parties would then provide these funds to Steen, according to the commission's findings.

The Save America PAC allegedly provided $5,000 in contributions to three different local Republican parties intended for Steen's campaign on August 31 and September 1, 2022, according to the documents.

“Based on the discussions preceding the donations, it appears that the respondent directed the county parties to use the money, directly or indirectly, for the benefit of the Friends of Adam Steen. The county parties did so either through direct contributions to Friends of Adam Steen or through disbursements to vendors. This is a violation of WIS. STAT. § 11.1202(2),” the documents state.

The commission did not name any specific individuals who should face charges, writing only that the PAC's “agents” allegedly violated campaign finance laws.

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment via email.

Despite efforts to unseat Vos, he ended up winning the 2022 Republican primary by 260 votes, resulting in a defeat for Trump in the crucial battleground state. He easily won the general election, fending off a Democratic challenger and Steen's write-in effort.

In a lengthy statement endorsing Steen, Trump called Vos a “RINO” who “consistently blocked efforts to conduct a comprehensive cyber-legal audit of the 2020 election.”

“He is far from supporting America First, and I am not close to supporting him,” Trump wrote.

Vos joined the former president in expressing concerns about the validity of the 2020 election, but ultimately refused to decertify the results, sparking outrage among some Trump-aligned conservatives. Wisconsin was among the most competitive states in 2020, with Biden winning by just 0.63 percentage points, winning 49.45% of the vote to Trump's 48.82%.

Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his civil trial on corporate fraud charges November 6, 2023 in New York. A Wisconsin ethics commission dealt a blow to a Trump PAC supporting his… Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his civil trial on business fraud charges on November 6, 2023 in New York . A Wisconsin ethics commission has dealt a major blow to a Trump PAC supporting his 2024 campaign. More from Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images Uncommon Knowledge

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