Maddow falsely claims Pence raising money to pay Donald Jr.’s legal bills
In a claim that is misleading at best, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has told viewers that Vice-President Mike Pence’s fundraising efforts in Milwaukee next week on behalf of President Donald Trump will instead go to Donald Jr.’s legal bills.
As RNC Spokeswoman Cassie Smedile told the Washington Post, however, all fees “have been paid with funds from a pre-existing legal proceedings account and do not reduce by a dime the resources we can put towards our political work.”
The decision to tap the legal fund comes after Republican National Committee officials questioned whether it could be used to help cover costs related to the ongoing Russia investigation. Some party officials thought it would be more appropriate to start a separate legal defense fund for the Russian inquiries.
Maddow gushed over the possibility that “this scandal, and any potential prosecutions that derive from it, may boil down to very personal decisions by very high profile people.”
However, according to a person close to the GOP, party officials concluded that it is acceptable for the RNC to pay for the legal fees.
Separately, they along with administration officials are working to decide whether executive branch staffers, who must comply with gift rules, could have their legal fees covered by the RNC or private legal defense funds.
What Maddow and other critics are ignorant to, willfully or otherwise, is that the RNC’s ability to spend this money on Trump family legal fees is possible thanks to a rider that a powerful Democratic lawyer slipped into a government spending bill at the last minute in 2014, allowing national party committees to create special legal accounts for campaign-related expenses.
The special accounts can take in three times the normal contribution limit to a party’s general funds and are subject to little federal oversight.
Under current law, it is to be “used to defray expenses incurred with respect to the preparation for and the conduct of election recounts and contests and other legal proceedings (emphasis added).”
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