Wisconsin Ethics Commission Says Trump PAC Broke Campaign Finance Laws In 2022

Austin Alonzo
By Austin Alonzo
February 23, 2024Donald Trump
Wisconsin Ethics Commission Says Trump PAC Broke Campaign Finance Laws In 2022
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump greets his supporters at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in Greer, S.C., on Feb. 20, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The Wisconsin Ethics Commission has recommended a criminal investigation of a political action committee attached to former President Donald Trump.

The committee, Save America, could be charged with a felony.

In an email to The Epoch Times, Daniel Carlton Jr., an administrator with the commission, said it “found probable cause to believe that criminal violations of campaign finance law occurred and referred those matters to the appropriate district attorneys.”

Mr. Carlton provided 14 orders issued by the bipartisan, six-member commission on Feb. 20. Most notably, Save America, a qualified leadership PAC sponsored by President Trump, is among the parties named in the orders.

Representatives of Save America did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Epoch Times.

According to the FEC, a leadership PAC is a committee that is directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained, or controlled by a candidate or an individual holding federal office. However, a leadership PAC is not an authorized committee of the candidate or officeholder and is not affiliated with an authorized committee of a candidate or officeholder.

The commission, according to an order pertaining to Save America, ordered authorities in Florence County, Chippewa County, and Langlade County, Wisconsin, to investigate and prosecute Save America “and any other person the district attorney deems appropriate.” The investigation and potential prosecution will focus on the PAC’s $5,000 contributions to each Republican Party in the respective counties.

In accordance with state statutes, Mr. Carlton said that an intentional violation of the law could be charged as a Class I felony.

NTD Photo
Wisconsin Speaker of the Assembly Robin Vos is flanked by State Rep. Robert Brooks (L) and State Senator Dan Feyen as they unveil a stadium repair funding plan aimed at keeping the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee at a news conference at American Family Field in Milwaukee on Sept. 18, 2023. (Morry Gash/AP Photo)

Allegation of Collusion

The commission’s order says the commission received a complaint in December 2022 about Save America. That complaint alleged there was collusion between Save America, a candidate committee backing Adam Steen—Friends of Adam Steen—and the three country Republican Parties to “funnel money and services to Friends of Adam Steen to avoid contribution limits.”

Mr. Steen, a Republican endorsed by President Trump, ran against Wisconsin Rep. Robin Vos, a Republican and the speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, in 2022. He narrowly lost a primary challenge in Wisconsin’s District 63 in August 2022 and was defeated again in a write-in effort in November 2022.

Save America, according to the order, filed a response to the complaint in December 2022, which denied the allegations.

In February 2023, the commission chose to hire an independent investigator to look into the matter. In February, that investigator turned in their report.

The investigators, according to the order, confirmed Friends of Adam Steen received contributions greater than $1,000. He returned the excess amounts. Nevertheless, the investigators determined that Mr. Steen, Friends of Adam Steen, and the named county parties devised an arrangement to avoid the $1,000 limitation.

“Friends of Adam Steen advised people that wanted to give more than allowed under Wisconsin’s contribution limits to send it to the Langlade County Republican Party with ’63’ in the memo line of the check or through some other way of indicating it was to go to Friends of Adam Steen,” the order said.

Unlike individuals, candidate committees, and PACs, county parties can give an unlimited amount to candidates.

Investigators found Save America made $5,000 contributions to the three parties between Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 2022. FEC records from 2022 show Save America made three contributions of that amount to those parties as a “non-federal contribution.”

NTD Photo
Mike Lindell at a resort in Dana Point, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2023. (Mei Li/The Epoch Times)

“The report of the investigation indicates that these three contributions were made to the county parties after discussions between Mr. Adam Steen and individuals associated with the county parties,” the order said. “Mr. Adam Steen, or others acting on his behalf, contacted the parties to confirm that they would forward the money donated to the Republican Party of Langlade County so that it could be used to support him in his efforts to unseat Speaker Vos.”

Similar orders were made against other individuals, Friends of Adam Steen, the Langlade County Republican Party, the Chippewa County Republican Party, and the Florence County Republican Party.

Notably, the commission dismissed pursuing any charges against Mike Lindell, a conservative activist and the CEO of Minnesota manufacturer My Pillow Inc.

Mr. Lindell did make a contribution of $4,000 to the Langlade County Republican Party, according to an order pertaining to his case. However, investigators determined he was not a party to the alleged scheme.

Save America is the spotlight in 2024 because it is paying a large portion of President Trump’s legal bills, according to FEC records.

From The Epoch Times

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