A Jared Kushner “Shell Company” Was Used to Quietly Pay Trump Family Members; Accusations of Laundering Well Over $600 Million Rise
According to Business Insider, a source has come forward with information stating that Trump’s top advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, approved a Trump campaign shell company that covertly paid the president’s family members and spent close to half of the campaign’s $1.26 billion.
The operation paid some of Trump’s advisors and family members while keeping financial and other crucial details out of the public eye.
The company was created in April 2018 by Kushner and others, who picked Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, as its president. VP Mike Pence’s nephew John Pence was tapped as the company’s vice president and the treasurer and secretary was Trump campaign CFO Sean Dollman, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The shell company operated under the names “American Made Media Consultants Corporation” and “American Made Media Consultants LLC” and created a way for the Trump campaign to get away with not exactly adhering to federally ordered disclosures.
Finance records from the Trump campaign show that Trump’s reelection effort, along with it’s corresponding RNC committee, spent more than $600 million through American Made Consultants. All that money spent and yet Trump’s own staff and many top advisors have said they had no real idea exactly how the shell company functioned.
An internal audit of the company and its operations under former campaign manager Brad Parscale was conducted by Trump campaign leaders but the results were never reported.
Even WITH an audit, some of the same advisors involved said they were only just finding out about John Pence and Lara Trump’s involvement at the breaking of this portion of the story.
But if the shell corporation was as big a mystery as is thought, it’s a mystery that was basically hiding in plain sight. Jared Kushner, Lara Trump, John Pence, and Sean Dollman were often right in the middle of the Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va.
The person familiar with American Made Media Consultants (AMMC) said, “They like to say they don’t know, but that’s not true. What they wanted was excuses so they could blame other people. If they thought that, why did they keep using it?”
$617M spent through AMMC for Trump campaign
In the time period between January 2019 and November 2020, the Trump campaign, along with an affiliated political committee, spent $617 million through American Made Media Consultants.
According to a review of Federal Election Commission records and data given by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, that was almost HALF of the total spent in Trump’s failed bid for reelection.
Parscale has been accused before by Trump advisors of trying to hide money from Trump and AMMC has often been cited as having been a part of that even though MOST of the money spent at AMMC – $415 million – came after Parscale was fired in July.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh had this much to say about Lara Trump and John Pence’s involvement in a statement released just last week: “Lara Trump and John Pence resigned from the AMMC board in October 2019 to focus solely on their campaign activities, however, there was never any ethical or legal reason why they could not serve on the board in the first place. John and Lara were not compensated by AMMC for their service as board members.”
Parscale has so far declined to comment.
The Trump campaign team has long been accused by legal experts of using corporate pass-throughs to hide money.
A civil complaint was filed with the FEC in July accusing the Trump campaign of “disguising” roughly $170 million in campaign funds “by laundering” through AMMC. The complaint was filed by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which is led by former Republican FEC Chairman Trevor Potter
The Campaign Legal Center’s director of federal reform, Brendan Fischer, said the payments to AMMC are a “scheme to evade telling voters even the basics on where its money is really going” and a “shield to disguise the ultimate recipients of its spending.”
The FEC reserves the right to issue fines to political committees should it find that they have broken election laws.
Furthermore, the DOJ can open a criminal investigation if it suspects a “knowing and willful” violation of election law has occurred.
These types of investigations are rare but not unheard of and several former Justice Department and FEC officials have stated that there could already be a discreet investigation occurring about Trump’s reelection activity.
And even though some of Trump’s own campaign leaders knew that AMMC was being used to buy pro-Trump advertising and other media, they still seem stumped by the full AMMC arrangement, particularly how much each AMMC vendor was pocketing themselves.
The person familiar with AMMC said the vendor rates for the Trump campaign were cheaper than what an outside source would have required. The use of the shell corporation also meant Parscale could keep Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, DJT Jr.’s girlfriend, on his payroll.
These revelations come to light as Trump’s team of advisors are eating each other alive trying to escape blame for Trump’s loss to Joe Biden after a record shattering expensive election cycle.
Trump’s current campaign team, along with manager Bill Stepien, blame Parscale’s spending habits for forcing them to cut their budgets in the final weeks before the election, when they say Trump needed more money.
But supporters of Parscale and his campaign team maintain that the reelection bid had plenty of money, and was supported by millions of small-dollar donations from Trump supporters. They believe that if Stepien had just kept the former pace of spending, Trump would have won.
While some speculate that Stepien and his team may have deliberately kept themselves in the dark so as not to get on Kushner’s bad side, others say it’s more likely that Kushner was withholding information from Stepien’s new team.
A former Trump campaign advisor said, “Nothing was done without Jared’s approval. What Stepien doesn’t know is because Jared doesn’t want him to know.”
A little backstory on how AMMC was created:
Parscale had been the digital communication force behind Trump’s 2016 victory so in February 2018, Trump and Kushner promoted Parscale to campaign manager.
In March 2018, a few members of Trump’s campaign staff met with Trump’s lawyers at the Jones Day law firm, according to the person familiar with the AMMC project. The Jones Day lawyers proposed an idea for Parscale.
They had worked previously with Mitt Romney, who had used the pass-through company, American Rambler, to make his expensive TV ad purchases throughout his campaign. Republican superlawyer Ben Ginsberg was suggesting that Parscale use the same strategy as Romney.
In April 2018, Kushner approved a plan that would have Trump’s family and campaign staff run the shell company and according to Delaware incorporations records, AMMC was officially incorporated on April 18, 2018.
Ginsberg, who has been hugely critical of Trump in recent weeks, has now declined to comment.
Delaware has a history of being one of the best places in the country to hide secret corporations but as Congress just passed a new corporate transparency measure early this month, that could all change.