It’s not clear why one would need to create a shell company unless one were trying to hide something https://t.co/8wDTV9dbOl
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) December 18, 2020
American Made Media Consultants, for extra risibility. Bess Levin is always a good read:
Donald Trump and his family have spent the last four years making the airtight case that they view the presidency as simply a means to enrich themselves and their associates. They probably don’t particularly like that reputation and, yet, it hasn’t stopped them from funneling taxpayer money to their private business, gouging the Secret Service, and raising legal defense funds that the fine print says could go directly to their pockets. Oh, and, according to a new report, setting up a shell company that spent hundreds of millions of campaign dollars to pay Trump family members along with other expenditures it seemingly wanted to keep under wraps.
According to Business Insider, first son-in-law Jared Kushner personally approved the creation of the company, incorporated as American Made Media Consultants Corp. and American Made Media Consultants LLC, in April 2018. From there, Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, was named president, with Mike Pence’s nephew John Pence serving as vice president. If you’re wondering why the shell company, described as Business Insider as acting “almost like a campaign within a campaign” was necessary, well, it’s not entirely clear, but it sure sounds like the express purpose was the ability to shield “financial and operational details from public scrutiny,” as it allowed the campaign to avoid federally mandated disclosures concerning what it was spending considerable amounts of money on. And by considerable we mean nearly half of the $1.26 billion raised for Trump’s reelection. Which seems like a lot!…
Within the larger campaign, some leaders told Business Insider they were in the dark regarding the AMMC arrangement, saying that they were generally aware the company was used to purchase TV, radio, and digital advertising but had no idea exactly how much each vendor was keeping for itself. While some advisers have accused former campaign manager Brad Parscale of mismanaging money, the bulk of the cash spent by AMMC—$415 million—occurred after Parscale was fired on July 15. (Parscale has defended his spending as campaign manager.)
As for what Parscale’s successor, Bill Stepien, knew of the situation, a Republican close to the White House suggested to Business Insider that Stepien may have purposely kept himself in the dark so as not to anger Kushner. Another source, though, believed the first son-in-law may have been the one keeping the information from Stepien. “Nothing was done without Jared’s approval,” the source said. “What Stepien doesn’t know is because Jared doesn’t want him to know.”…
Opinion: The Trump family keeps grifting, to the end and beyond https://t.co/RYgBqb42cw
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 19, 2020
Paul Waldman is more of a cynic:
… To be clear, it could well be that no laws were violated, scrupulous about obeying the rules as the Trump and Kushner families are known to be. But the whole point of shell companies is to hide something; in this case, the campaign was able to show over $600 million in payments to the shell company, American Made Media Consultants Corp., on its Federal Election Committee filings, without the details that would be known if whatever they were spending money on was paid directly to vendors.
And while most of that $600 million probably went to buy advertising, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the favored officers of the shell company got nice salaries, nor if there were ways that it was used to funnel campaign contributions back to Trump himself.
We may never know. But I know this: Trump’s supporters couldn’t care less, even if it’s their money.
That’s because he has spent years convincing them that self-dealing and graft are perfectly fine. The only question is whether it’s the people you like who are benefiting.
This was always Trump’s argument about unethical behavior: not that he’s innocent and others are guilty, but that everyone is guilty, so we shouldn’t worry about his misdeeds. Everyone is corrupt, everyone is on the take, everyone mistreats women, we’re living in a world without morals or principles and all that matters is whether you win…
To be continued…
As former prosecutors, @RepKathleenRice and I are requesting the @FBI and @FEC to investigate whether campaign donations were illegally paid to family members of @realDonaldTrump. https://t.co/pVj2F0reIy
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 19, 2020