Fact Check/PolitiFact: “The $130,000 Stormy Daniels payoff: Was it a campaign expenditure?”

“The central legal question is whether Cohen paid Daniels to help Trump’s campaign, or to help Trump. Experts agreed that the most significant consequences hinge on this point. The Federal Election Commission…applies something called the Irrespective Test. The law says that something is personal if it’s ‘any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.’ By that standard, said Emory School of Law professor Michael Kang, ‘the circumstances and context here are suspicious,’ but it’s no slam-dunk that the payment was an expenditure on behalf of the campaign.  ‘Cohen may have been sufficiently involved in Trump’s personal dealings, perhaps with other similar transactions in the past, that they can credibly argue the hush payment would’ve been handled in similar fashion even if Trump were not a candidate,’ Kang said. Former FEC chair Bradley Smith told us he sees evidence from Daniels that places this outside the realm of the campaign. ‘Daniels herself has said that years before Trump declared for president, she was threatened about not disclosing any affair, suggesting, if she’s telling the truth, that her silence was desired long before Trump became a candidate,’ Smith said.”

– Jon Greenberg, “The $130,000 Stormy Daniels payoff: Was it a campaign expenditure?” PolitiFact, May 3, 2018, https://www.politifact.com/article/2018/may/03/130000-stormy-daniels-payoff-was-it-campaign-expen/