The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has closed its investigation into whether former President Donald Trump broke campaign finance rules when his then-attorney Michael Cohen paid $130,000 in alleged “hush money” to adult film actress Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election.
The FEC voted on the inquiry in a closed-door meeting in February, according to the New York Times while the commission’s case file docket was updated with related information more recently.
Two of the FEC’s Republican commissioners voted to discontinue the probe, while two Democrat-aligned members voted to proceed, with one Republican recusing herself and a Democrat not present to weigh in on the matter, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post. A majority vote was required to advance the inquiry, so it was dropped.
Cohen was convicted in 2018 of lying to Congress, tax evasion, and other charges, and was sentenced to three years in prison.
With Cohen’s punishment, the “public record is complete,” the Republican commissioners added.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to violating campaign finance law by making the payment to Daniels as well as another payment of $150,000 to model Karen McDougal shortly before the election.
Both women claim to have had sexual encounters with Trump more than a decade ago and that the money was intended to buy their silence. Trump has denied the encounters and has repeatedly told reporters he knew nothing about a payment to Daniels.
“The Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C., has totally dropped the phony case against me concerning payments to women relative to the 2016 Presidential Election,” Trump wrote.
“It was a case built on lies from Michael Cohen, a corrupt and convicted lawyer, a lawyer in fact who was so corrupt he was sentenced to three years in jail for lying to Congress and many other things having nothing to do with me. I thank the Commission for their decision, ending this chapter of Fake News.”