“Consultant With Ties to Donald Trump Linked to Offer to Hide Source of Donations”


A video posted on Monday by a British newspaper appeared to show a Republican consultant with ties to Donald J. Trump offering to disguise the source of contributions to a “super PAC” intended to aid Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

In an accompanying article, the newspaper, The Telegraph, wrote that two of its reporters, posing as representatives of a Chinese national who supported Mr. Trump as the Republican presidential nominee, had proposed making a $2 million contribution in support of him. According to the newspaper, the G.O.P. consultant, Jesse Benton, had proposed routing the contribution through his own public relations firm and into nonprofit groups that do not disclose their donors, disguising the foreign source. The groups would then make the contribution to the super PAC, known as Great America PAC, or spend it to benefit Mr. Trump.

United States law strictly forbids foreign nationals from making contributions to candidates, political parties or PACs. And Mr. Benton has a checkered history: Last month he was sentenced to two years of probation for his role in a 2012 scheme to make secret payments to an Iowa state senator in exchange for an endorsement.

But the video does not show how the reporters identified themselves and reflects only snippets of the reporters’ conversations with Mr. Benton, making it difficult to verify exactly what Mr. Benton had offered or whether any laws were broken.

I’d be just as cautious with this as with the O’Keefe videos. When things are edited without access to unedited versions and context, it is impossible to figure out what is being fairly portrayed.


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