WASHINGTON— Watchdog group Common Cause has filed complaints with the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission over allegations that Donald Trump’s personal attorney paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to conceal an affair.
“The American people expect and deserve transparency when it comes to money spent to influence elections and those requirements are not optional no matter how embarrassing the reason behind the expense,” Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn said in a statement.
The complaints are premised on the notion that the payment could be considered an unreported in-kind contribution since the timing suggests that it was intended to aid Trump’s presidential campaign.
Common Cause also seeks to uncover where the alleged payment came from since campaign donations from corporations or individuals to specific candidates are capped at $2,700.
The Wall Street Journal originally reported the alleged payment, intended to conceal a sexual relationship between Trump and Daniels in 2006, earlier this month, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
The paper followed with a report detailing corporate records showing that Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, set up an LLC shortly before the election.
The Journal believes that the LLC was established to deliver the payment.
Cohen has denied that there was any sexual contact between Daniels and Trump, but has not commented on the alleged payment.
Last week, In Touch Magazine published a 2011 interview with Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, in which she states that she had a consensual sexual encounter with Trump after the then-reality TV star and real estate mogul was married to now-First Lady Melania Trump. The previous editor chose not to publish the story in 2011, and it was eventually published this year after the WSJ broke the story.
Both Cohen and the White House have dismissed the claims, stating that questions on the apparent affair were answered during the campaign.
Cohen has released a signed statement from Daniels denying the affair.
Reports of the payment initially drew comparisons to former Presidential candidate John Edwards using $725,000 from a wealthy donor to support and conceal his pregnant mistress during the 2008 campaign.
The Justice Department ultimately dropped charges against Edwards.