Lachlan Markay for Axios:
A pro-Trump political group has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle allegations it illegally solicited $2 million from reporters posing as intermediaries for a Chinese national.
Why it matters: A key player in the scheme, a veteran Republican operative, is facing criminal charges over allegedly funneling tens of thousands of dollars in foreign cash to Trump’s re-election effort, making news of the fine the latest in an emerging pattern of conduct.
What’s new: Great America PAC, a hybrid super PAC, reached an agreement with the Federal Election Commission to resolve the more recent allegations in June, according to a copy of the conciliation agreement released this week….
Between the lines: Benton, a former senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is also facing criminal charges over his alleged role in a scheme to funnel money from a Russian national to a Trump fundraising committee last year.
What they’re saying: “Benton’s conduct was dishonorable, unpatriotic, and clearly illegal,” three of the FEC’s six commissioners wrote in a joint statement on the Great America PAC settlement.
- The commission nonetheless deadlocked on whether to investigate Benton’s conduct further.
- “It is unfortunate, to put it mildly, that the Commission failed to follow through and hold Benton accountable for his actions,” the three commissioners wrote.