An ethics watchdog wants to know more about the president’s relationship with a porn star.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed criminal and civil complaints with the US Department of Justice on Thursday over a payment made by Trump attorney Michael Cohen to adult films actress Stormy Daniels.
Addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and US Office of Government Ethics acting director David Apol, the complaints request that the Justice Department investigate whether Trump intentionally failed to report Cohen’s payment on his public financial disclosure report.
The complaint read:
“Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”) respectfully requests that the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Office of Government Ethics (“OGE”) investigate and determine whether a surreptitious payment made to a third party shortly before the 2016 presidential election by President Donald J. Trump’s personal attorney or a limited liability company (“LLC”) the attorney created constituted a loan to President Trump that he should have reported as a liability on his public financial disclosure (“OGE 278″) report, and if President Trump knowingly and willfully failed to report it.”
Cohen admitted to the New York Times last month that he paid $130,000 of his own money to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
His remarks were in response to a report that the lawyer paid Clifford the sum as part of a non-disclosure agreement related to an affair the former porn star allegedly had with Trump in 2006.
Clifford filed a lawsuit this week in order to get out of the agreement, claiming it is void because Trump didn’t sign it.
In a press release, CREW board chair Norman Eisen said:
“The more we learn about the Essential Consultants affair, the more it looks like something is missing from the president’s financial disclosures.
“If he failed to disclose this situation, we must ask, what else is he hiding?”
CREW frequently files complaints against the Trump administration. The organization has previously targeted Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner.
In February, another watchdog group, Common Cause, filed a Justice Department complaint that accused Cohen’s payment to Clifford of being an unreported campaign contribution and a violation of federal campaign finance law.
Cohen has denied any wrongdoing on the part of President Trump, his campaign, or his company.
“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said.