The Federal Election Commission has formally dropped a case looking into whether former President Donald J. Trump violated election law with a payment of $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to a pornographic-film actress by his personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.
The payment was never reported on Mr. Trump’s campaign filings. Mr. Cohen would go on to say that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange payments to two women during the 2016 race and apologize for his involvement in a hush-money scandal. Mr. Cohen was sentenced to prison for breaking campaign finance laws, tax evasion and lying to Congress.
“It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light,” Mr. Cohen said of Mr. Trump in court in 2018.
But while the federal court case involving Mr. Cohen was resolved, the F.E.C. issued only an internal report from its Office of General Counsel on how to proceed in its review in December 2020. The office said it had found “reason to believe” violations of campaign finance law were made “knowingly and willfully” by the Trump campaign.
But the election commission — split evenly between three Republicans and three Democratic-aligned commissioners — declined to proceed. Two Republican commissioners voted to dismiss the case while two Democratic commissions voted to move forward. There was one absence and one Republican recusal.
This article will be updated.
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