- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Federal Elections Commission voted Thursday to close a probe of former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, saying it had not found any proof of any violations.

On a 4-1 vote, the panel ended the investigation into hush money paid by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The panel said it had failed to find that Mr. Trump or his campaign “knowingly and willfully” violated campaign-finance law when Mr. Cohen paid $130,000 in October 2016 to the adult actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford and who says she had had an affair with the real-estate tycoon earlier that decade.

According to a report in The Hill, the panel’s two Republican commissioners, Allen Dickerson and Sean Cooksey, said Mr. Cohen already served three years in prison on charges related to the payments, and the matter was “not the best use of agency resources.”

The panel’s two Democratic members disagreed, saying in a separate statement that the probe should have been continued.

“To conclude that a payment, made 13 days before Election Day to hush up a suddenly newsworthy 10-year-old story, was not campaign-related, without so much as conducting an investigation, defies reality,” wrote Ellen Weintraub and Shana Broussard.

But without a factual finding that Mr. Trump or the campaign itself, rather than Mr. Cohen personally, had committed a violation, the panel had no way to move forward, and the 4-1 vote ended the investigation.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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