The owner of the National Enquirer has agreed to pay a $187,500 fine for his role in paying $150,000 hush money to a former Playboy model who claimed she was having an affair with Donald Trump.
American Media Inc. and his former president David Pecker have struck a deal with Trump campaign officials to buy Karen McDougal’s story in order to suppress it and “prevent it from affecting the election,” according to a Federal Election Commission ruling.
But in a summary of its findings, the FEC said it would not prosecute other respondents and had closed the case.
The FEC ruling, seen by DailyMail.com, exposes how Pecker and AMI met with Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen to help dispel negative stories about Trump and his relations.
And it concludes that AMI “coordinated” with the Trump campaign by paying $150,000 to McDougal.
The Federal Election Commission has determined that American Media Inc, owner of National Enquirer, and David Pecker (pictured) “knowingly and intentionally” violated the election finance law by paying former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 to claim the election. Donald Trump campaign in 2016
McDougal said she met Trump at the Playboy house in 2006 when he was filming an episode of Celebrity Apprentice. She said she broke off the affair because she felt guilty. Trump has always denied the relationship
The FEC has released details about its vote, showing that two other respondents – known as former President Trump and the Trump campaign – will not take any further action
The FEC found that the money paid in advance of the 2016 election should have been declared as a campaign contribution ‘in kind’.
But it also said there were not enough votes among the commissioners to take action against the Trump campaign and Trump himself.
Paul Ryan, Common Cause’s vice president of policy and litigation, who brought the case to court, said: “It is disappointing that Donald Trump has still not been held accountable.
“Michael Cohen went to jail, American Media Inc pays a fine, but the mastermind of an illegal scheme, Donald Trump, has not been held responsible,” he said.
“That’s bad news for democracy and a bad precedent for campaign finance law.”
The case was one of a number of payments made as part of a “catch and kill” program to protect Trump’s reputation.
Last month, the FEC said it was dropping an investigation into whether Trump violated electoral law with a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
And it was also revealed on Friday that it was not taking any further action against allegations that the National Enquirer paid $30,000 to a former doorman at one of Trump’s buildings in New York City, exposing Dino Sajudin and his story of Trump fathering a child with an employee at Trump was silenced World Tower.
AMI paid McDougal $150,000 for her story in August 2016, a month after Trump secured the Republican nomination for president, in an effort to “suppress her story that it would go public before the 2016 presidential election for the purpose of protecting that election.” influence,” the Federal Election Commission said
Karen McDougal (second from left) poses with Hugh Hefner (center) during her career as a Playboy bunny.
AMI is now known as A360 after a merger
But the FEC is working its way through a raft of other 2016 campaign allegations, including Trump’s public invitation to the Russian government to “find” Clinton’s emails and allegations that the former president had illegally approved a super PAC run supported
McDougal has said she first met Trump in 2006 at the Playboy Mansion.
The result was a 10-month affair, she claimed, that ended when she felt guilty about Trump cheating on his wife.
Trump has always denied the affair.
In June 2016, an attorney for McDougal reportedly contacted the National Enquirer with a story about the model’s alleged relationship with Trump.
A month later, he secured the Republican nomination for president.
And in August, according to the FEC document, AMI bought the rights to McDougal’s life story, including her relationship with “all then-married men” for $150,000.
They were later handed over to a company founded by Cohen.
AMI further admits that the primary purpose in entering into the agreement was to suppress the model’s narrative to prevent it from influencing the election” and that “at no time during the negotiation or acquisition of [McDougal’s] story, AMI was planning to publish or disclose information about the story,” the document reads.
It also describes how Pecker had met members of the Trump campaign and Cohen a year earlier.
‘Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about’ [Trump’s] relations with women, among other things by helping the campaign identify such stories so that they could be bought and avoided publication,” according to a non-prosecution agreement previously signed by AMI.
Cohen later admitted to making payments to two women during the 2016 race. He was sentenced to prison for campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress.
A360, which succeeded AMI after merging as owner of the National Enquirer, did not respond to a request for comment.
A Trump spokesperson declined to comment.