Earlier this week, the Federal Election Commission sent a letter to a pro-Trump, Paul Manafort-linked PAC active during the 2016 election that reported a $1 million contribution two years late, as Manafort’s plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller was falling apart.
There’s a lot we’d still like to know on this story. Here are some of our questions.
- Why wasn’t the contribution disclosed in the relevant FEC report in 2016?
- Why did it take two years for the PAC to note the contribution? (This delay is particularly surprising given that the overall balance of contributions in the PAC’s 2016 filing included the $1 million)
- Is there any connection between the $1 million contribution and the alleged kickback scheme that prosecutors are reportedly looking into between Manafort and the PAC?
- Has the donor who gave the contribution, Geoffrey Palmer, been contacted or questioned by prosecutors in New York or by Mueller’s office?
- Were straw donors used to illegally funnel foreign money to the PAC, something New York prosecutors and Mueller’s office are investigating? If so, did any of those same foreign donors use the same scheme to contribute to Trump’s inaugural committee?
- The payment to Manafort, according to Mueller’s office, went to cover a debt that Manafort had to a law firm, and was paid through an unknown legal entity that had done work for the PAC. That entity also collected a 6 percent commission on all work it did for the PAC. So, what was the name of that unknown intermediary? And did Manafort himself, or did any of his associates, have an equity stake in that firm?