Today, Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that American Media, Inc.’s August 2016 payment of $150,000 to former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, to buy and bury her story of an affair with Donald J. Trump, was for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election and was coordinated with Donald Trump’s attorney and agent Michael Cohen—making it an illegal corporate in-kind contribution to the 2016 Trump campaign. Additionally, the payment was never reported as an in-kind contribution received, and an expenditure made, by the campaign as required by campaign finance law.
The New York Times broke the story Sunday of American Media, Inc. (AMI) contacting Cohen in 2016 before the company paid McDougal for exclusive rights to her story of an affair with Donald Trump, which the paper then killed reportedly to protect Trump’s candidacy. Cohen was also in contact with McDougal’s attorney, Keith Davidson, who filled him in on the details after the deal was signed. Davidson also represented adult film star Stephanie Clifford (aka “Stormy Daniels”), to whom Cohen has admitted facilitating payment of $130,000 reportedly in hush money shortly before the 2016 election to quash her story of an affair with Trump.