The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has just concluded that President Trump did, indeed, pay actors to attend his very first campaign event. Why it took them so long to release the report, we’re not sure.
If Trump and his team were honest about it – it might not be that big of a story – but to this day Trump denies it ever happened. Now the FEC is calling him a liar.
They claim to have evidence by Trump’s own filings with them, where Trump disclosed a payment to contractor Gotham Government Relations, that in turn subcontracted with Extra Mile, a New York-based casting agency.
“In this matter, the available information indicates that the [Trump campaign] retained Gotham as an event consultant, and Gotham, in turn, subcontracted with Extra Mile to provide extra administrative support at Trump’s announcement, including the provision of at least some of the rally crowd.”
The document doesn’t say how many actors were in attendance, but that doesn’t matter. We now know for sure that Trump and his team weren’t being honest about it.
This was one of the biggest stories about Trump after he initially launched his campaign – it’s good to know the truth at some point, no matter how long that ends up taking.
But – here’s the thing: Trump likes to regularly have people in the audience that can act as his cheerleader or benefactor. We know this – in Trump’s first official press conference in over seven months earlier in the year – Trump paid staffers of his to sit in the audience and clap whenever he attacked members of the “fake news” media. Those weren’t innocent bystanders – it was all planned. This is a pattern of his.
Even though Trump was caught red-handed by the FEC, it says they aren’t planning to sanction the Trump campaign because the campaign eventually ended up disclosing the payment. Still – that doesn’t undo the harm done to the public he lied to.