Trump Thanks Head Of Conservative Group Accused Of Bending Finance Laws

December 22, 2017 10:24 a.m.

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted his personal thanks to the head of a conservative nonprofit that former employees allege to have behaved in a way that was “crossing a legal line” with regard to campaign finance laws.

“Thank you Charlie Kirk of Turning Points USA,” Trump tweeted, attributing a quote about his achievements in his first year in office. “Sadly, the Fake Mainstream Media will NEVER talk about our accomplishments in their end of year reviews.”

Trump thanked Kirk, the executive director and founder of Turning Point USA, a day after the New Yorker reported that former employees allege the group “may have skirted campaign-finance laws that bar charitable organizations from participating in political activity.”

One former employee who worked for the group told the New Yorker that her supervisor used her work email to contact her and make arrangements for her to help Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) presidential campaign. The employee said that hundreds of Cruz placards subsequently arrived at her private mailing address.

The employee told the New Yorker that she supported Cruz’s candidacy, but objected to the role Turning Point USA played in connecting the two: “We wanted to volunteer on our own terms, not to give in to pressure from a boss. I felt that if it wasn’t crossing a legal line, it was crossing a professional one.”

Another former employee told the New Yorker that a list she created with the names of hundreds of student supporters while working at Turning Point USA was then given to an employee of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) campaign without her knowledge.

The employee said that the Rubio staffer “shouldn’t have had that list.”

“We were a charity, and he was on a political campaign,” she said.

Reached for comment by the New Yorker, Kirk referred to a statement by his lawyer claiming the group “works diligently to comply entirely with all relevant laws and regulations governing not-for-profit organizations.”

Turning Point USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and as such cannot engage in “political campaign activity” without losing its tax-exempt status.

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