Ready for a NEW Trump Campaign Collusion Scandal?

You may need to sit down for this: evidence points to Donald Trump’s campaign team engaging in illegal behavior. No, not that – and no, I’m not talking about that either – this is a new issue of illicit collusion entirely.

Mother Jones & The Trace teamed up to look into some suspicious activity between Trump’s campaign team and the NRA in 2016 and had little trouble finding all sorts of barely veiled coordination.

The Supreme Court’s devastating Citizens United decision may have invited an unending barrage of corporate money into American elections, but there still are some rules preventing PACs and other political groups from directly coordinating or discussing spending issues with a campaign if they want to spend more than the legal limit of $5,000.

Evidently, the NRA – which spent $30 million, far more than any other independent conservative group that election cycle – and Trump’s team couldn’t even manage to follow those weak rules. Moreover, they barely made any attempt to conceal that they were willfully ignoring campaign laws.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious,” said Ann Ravel who served as a commissioner on the FEC from 2013 to 2017.

In the months leading up to Election Day, both the NRA and Trump made remarkably similar ad buys, paying for commercials to run during the same shows in the same targeted areas.

Technically, Trump hired America Media & Advocacy Group and the NRA hired Red Eagle to run their media campaigns, but these are hardly separate firms. They’re both run by the larger organization National Media Research, Planning and Placement, which use neighboring buildings as the official addresses on the filing forms.

More tellingly, NMRPP’s CFO Jon Ferrell actually signed off on each group’s eerily similar campaign strategy. Other campaign documents showed a few other employees signing documents on behalf of both “firms.” Obviously, it’s ridiculous to pretend that these are distinct entities that haven’t collaborated when the same people are making the same purchasing decisions.

While it’s not outright illegal for NMRPP to represent both the NRA and Trump separately, the law is clear that there are criminal punishments if teams that work for the respective campaigns share information between them. Nevertheless, FEC documents show NMRPP let its firms work in tandem rather than taking care to quarantine them.

“It is so blatant that it doesn’t even seem sloppy,” added Ravel. “Everyone involved probably just thinks there aren’t going to be any consequences.”

Sadly, the conspirers are almost definitely correct on that assumption. No matter how flagrant the law breaking is, it would require a unanimous vote by the FEC to even get an investigation on this matter rolling. Right now, the FEC is split along fierce partisan lines and as a result there is zero accountability or enforcement of campaign laws because the members, particularly the Republican members, refuse to reach a consensus on any issues, no matter how glaring.

As it stands, it’s plainly clear that the Trump team violated the already lax campaign finance laws. If you wanted to dig deeper and tie this controversy to the Russian collusion theories, it wouldn’t be difficult to try to connect those dots considering the NRA was caught accepting money from Russian sources during that same period. But I mean, hey, the NRA is broke so it had to get the money necessary to tip an election from somewhere!

93 comments

Paul B
Paul B2 months ago

"(No offense, Paul. We're both frustrated --just for different reasons caused by different belief systems.)"
On that I wholeheartedly agree. Neither of us are getting what we personally think is best for the country.

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Susanne R
Susanne R3 months ago

Paul B. - (continued...)
(one in elementary- and one in middle-school) ask for help studying for an upcoming tests, the subject matter is often our country's history, our founding fathers, the constitution, and subject matter that would be covered in any "civics" class. (My granddaughter, who is a high-honor student who took AP classes in middle-school and already has Regents credits, NEVER asks for assistance, but she feels comfortable talking about politics and loves correcting her brothers.) They also accompany their parents when they vote.

My parents did something right, and I hope my husband and I did, too. You can't place all the blame on our education system, because in some places, it's not very good. I suggest you contact Betsy DeVos --and see if she, a billionaire appointed by Mr. Useless, gives a rat's @ss. While you're at it, tell her about the sex education classes you described to me.

(No offense, Paul. We're both frustrated --just for different reasons caused by different belief systems.)

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Susanne R
Susanne R3 months ago

Paul B. - According to neaTODAY (The National Education Association)
"Contrary to Popular Belief, the Problem isn't that Students Receive No Civics Education. All 50 states require some form of instruction in civics and/or government, and nearly 90 percent of students take at least one civics class. But too often, factual book learning is not reinforced with experience-based learning opportunities like community service, guided debates, critical discussion of current events, and simulations of democratic processes."

My view: Education regarding these topics should take place at home, as well. Why is it that my children and grandchildren are well-versed on these topics? My parents read the newspaper from cover-to-cover every day. My mother always talked about upcoming elections, her recollections of the Great Depression, what life was like when she worked as a "Rosie the Riveter" at a local Westinghouse plant. She talked about President Eisenhower, the Holocaust, the local boys she wrote to (including the man who later became my father) while they were overseas serving in WWII. My dad, having suffered PTSD from his experiences while serving in Germany, didn't talk as much about it, but they always voted. My father was a proud Republican and my mother was an even prouder Democrat. My own children read the newspaper and watch the news, just like their parents do and grandparents did, and when my grandsons (one in elementary and one in mi

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Susanne R
Susanne R3 months ago

Paul, wake up. "And they ensured that someone as unqualified and unethical as "Trump" could actually become president of a great nation," were MY words, not E. J. Dionne's! And yes, I do harbor an unbridled hatred of this sorry excuse for a U.S. citizen!

No. I don't believe that individual states should dictate government policy, but I do believe that every citizen should have a voice. The Electoral College makes that an impossibility. And remember, you were the one who introduced the word "hicks" into this conversation, not me.

You were also the one who introduced oral sex into this conversation by saying, "Civics classes teach this well in school, too bad most public schools ended that class, instead want to teach sex ed and how to give good blowjobs, put on condoms, how to satisfy your partner to elementary and middle school students. etc." That's insane, and you know it. If that's what they're teaching in your school district, why aren't you doing something about it? That's certainly not what they're teaching where I live. Parents are SO involved in the schools that nothing gets past them. Perhaps some parental participation is in order. Sex Ed classes were taught to my children, and parents attended with them. I assure you, having attended twice, the lessons involved making children aware of their bodies and how they change and function, but they didn't encourage having sex or even mention the acts you describe.

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Paul B
Paul B3 months ago

o the system is messy, but it works as it was designed, and for a purpose... same with the electoral college, it protects the ideology of all states, not just the few who happen to be radically skewed on way or another. CA should NOT be allowed to choose our president all on their own, where fraud could be used to eliminate the valid votes in other states. You really have to look at the big picture to understand how brilliant the whole system is.

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Paul B
Paul B3 months ago

"And they ensured that someone as unqualified and unethical as "Trump" could actually become president of a great nation."
So at the end we realize WHY he hates the system... his unbridled hatred of Trump. Not biased at all.
The US is a Constiutional Republic, not a democracy... or mob rule... as the end result evolves into. The electoral college protects the rights of all those "hicks" in rural states as this writer seems to imply. Their votes aren't as important as others. Under your scenario, the left and right coasts would basically dictate policy to the rest of the country, and THAT is what was being protected... the rights of everyone.
As stated prior, the House is for the people and respective direct representation of the populace as it is based on relative population with CA and NY receiving their share based on population.
The Senate is an entirely different body and used to insure we DON'T evolve into mob rule by giving voice to the states, and equal representation of all areas of the country, yes including "fly-over" country, where I live as an example. If you made the Senate like the House, then there is no need for the Senate given you would just have the same representation in both. Civics classes teach this well in school, too bad most public schools ended that class, instead want to teach sex ed and how to give good blowjobs, put on condoms, how to satisfy your partner to elementary and middle school students. etc. I woul

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Susanne R
Susanne R3 months ago

Paul B. - (Continued...)
"The result of this system is that in this election the state of Wyoming cast about 210,000 votes, and thus each elector represented 70,000 votes, while in California approximately 9,700,000 votes were cast for 54 votes, thus representing 179,000 votes per electorate. Obviously this creates an unfair advantage to voters in the small states whose votes actually count more then those people living in medium and large states.

One aspect of the electoral system that is not mandated in the constitution is the fact that the winner takes all the votes in the state. Therefore it makes no difference if you win a state by 50.1% or by 80% of the vote you receive the same number of electoral votes. This can be a recipe for one individual to win some states by large pluralities and lose others by small number of votes, and thus this is an easy scenario for one candidate winning the popular vote while another winning the electoral vote. This winner take all methods used in picking electors has been decided by the states themselves. This trend took place over the course of the 19th century."

It's not perfect. And changing it requires an individual state-by-state effort, which never will be accepted by smaller states. In their efforts to be fair, our founding fathers created a monster of a problem. And they ensured that someone as unqualified and unethical as "Trump" could actually become president of a great nation.

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Susanne R
Susanne R3 months ago

Paul B. - Regarding your first objection to E. J. Dionne's article, "The fact that Wyoming and Idaho have as many Senate votes as New York and California underscores the challenges that remain." Let's consider the fact that California is the most highly-populated state in the country at 39,776,830 and New York comes in fourth with 19,862,512. Idaho comes in 39th with a population of 1,753,860, and Wyoming comes in dead last at 573,720. So what we have here is four Senators representing almost 60,000,000 people as opposed to four Senators representing 2,327,580 people.

I think Mr. Dionne is absolutely right when he says, "And let's concede up front that the vast overrepresentation of rural states in the U.S. Senate tilts the system, undemocratically, toward those who claim that government is powerless to take meaningful steps against mass killings. The fact that Wyoming and Idaho have as many Senate votes as New York and California underscores the challenges that remain."

Let's get to the heart of the problems our founding fathers created. According to History Central, "The electoral college is also part of compromises made at the convention to satisfy the small states. Under the system of the Electoral College each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have representative in Congress, thus no state could have less then 3. The result of this system is that in this election the state of Wyoming cast about 210,000 vote

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Paul B
Paul B3 months ago

Also, lyou do realize that the separation policy was well in force during Obama, and didn't start with Trump, and even though he increased the application of the law enacted under Clinton that was designed to stop child trafficking, he did ease up on that policy, and part of that compromise was to not allow them in at all until they could be processed and investigated. No more catch and release which was a disaster for border control, which was basically no border control at all. Criminals knew that if they could bring a kid with them, they would gain free entry. Too often it was found that the kids weren't even theirs and some of those were actually smuggling kids for human trafficking. So so wrong. If you love the kids, you have to control this process. and the borders.

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Paul B
Paul B3 months ago

It is a slap in the face of all those who entered the country the right way, after years of effort and cost to do that. We need immigrants I agree, but we should be able to control who comes in based on merit or need (as in true asylum seekers. All those coming from Honduras and Guatamala have been offered refuge in Mexico, and from there they can petition the US for entry, but to just show up at the border is NOT the right way, some even being violent as they attempt to storm the walls.
Also, any parent who risks their kids life to cross the barren deserts with help from criminal coyotes ishould be arrested for child endangerment. Any US parent doing the same would definitely have their kids taken away by DHS. Why do we give these criminals (by definition) more consideration that we give to our own citizens. That is the part I really don't understand. I am compassionate, but you have to fully consider the whole situation before caving to an innocent face in the camera.

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