Mary Trump, niece of former President Donald Trump, published a blog post this week urging supporters to pressure the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to restrict how political campaigns can spend donations, a move she argues could “ruin” her uncle’s political ambitions
According to a report by Raw Story on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, under current campaign finance laws, it is legal for political candidates to use donations to their campaigns to pay for legal fees.
Trump’s Save America PAC has utilized this rule extensively, spending over $20 million on legal bills in just the first half of 2022 – more than the Democratic National Committee, Republican National Committee, and National Republican Senatorial Committee combined.
In her Substack post, Mary Trump singled out this practice as an “absurd loophole” that lets candidates like her uncle essentially funnel political donations into a personal legal defense fund.
She cited analysis from University of Miami law professor Frances Hill, who told Newsweek that the FEC has little power right now to regulate campaigns’ use of donated money.
“Everything now is so over-mingled that the FEC has no place carved out in the law that would allow it to do anything at all about anyone’s use of money in a political campaign,” Hill stated.
Mary Trump argues that if the FEC were pressured to crack down on the use of campaign funds for legal bills, it would cut off her uncle’s easy access to millions in donations to pay his mounting legal expenses.
“If the FEC suddenly prohibited campaigns from paying personal legal bills, his political ambitions would be ruined,” she wrote.
Trump is currently facing several investigations and lawsuits, including a $250 million civil fraud case brought by the New York Attorney General.
The legal fees from just one six-month period exceeded the amount of money raised by both national party committees over the same timeframe.
Much of Mary Trump’s post centered on contrasting her uncle’s penchant for not repaying debts with President Biden’s swift repayment of a $200,000 loan from his brother James – the focus of a controversial probe by the House Oversight Committee.
She theorized that her uncle’s habit of debt avoidance originated with the massive loans and untaxed gifts he received from his father Fred Trump over decades – debts that were never repaid.
“Vast portions of Donald’s wealth were essentially built upon unpaid loans,” she wrote, citing a New York Times investigation showing Fred Trump gave his son $413 million that was largely never paid back.
Mary Trump closed her piece by urging her readers to contact the FEC and demand they enforce stricter regulations around use of donations by political campaigns.
She has previously called for law enforcement to “drop the hammer” on her uncle in light of recent revelations that $40 million in undisclosed Trump Organization funds were transferred without properly notifying the court.
With Trump gearing up for a 2024 presidential run, his niece clearly believes cutting off his easy access to campaign money could cripple those efforts.
Only time will tell if authorities heed her calls for tougher enforcement.