CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
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Washington—President Trump may have held an undisclosed beneficial interest in a limited liability company used by his personal lawyer to make a surreptitious payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to a request for investigation filed with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), its chair and vice chair.
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, acknowledged that his personal funds were used to “facilitate” a $130,000 payment to Daniels from Essential Consultants, LLC, a Delaware LLC formed by Cohen in October 2016, reportedly to buy her silence about an alleged affair with Trump. It is unknown where the $130,000 originated or what involvement Trump had with the LLC, but any interest he had must legally be disclosed on his public financial disclosure reports, filed with OGE.
“We don’t know if President Trump was involved with Essential Consulting, LLC, but we know he benefited from its actions,” CREW Board Chair and former Obama Ethics Counsel Norman Eisen said. “If he owned any interest in it whatsoever, he legally must disclose it.”
Cohen did not rule out the use of Trump’s funds to reimburse him or Trump’s involvement in the matter. He concluded his public remarks on the matter with, “I will always protect Mr. Trump.”
“This whole situation is murky,” CREW Board Vice Chair and former Bush Ethics Counsel Richard Painter said. “There needs to be an immediate investigation to get to the bottom of it.”