In October of 2015 Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger wrote a story for WAPO that exposed that Mike Ciletti who was running Trump’s superPac sent out a letter to potential donors using a email list he got from a top Trump aide.
In a Sept. 1 e-mail, Mike Ciletti, a Colorado GOP operative working for the Make America Great Again PAC, suggested to a Trump acquaintance and longtime GOP donor that he was using contact information he obtained from Trump’s longtime assistant and gatekeeper, Rhona Graff.
“I apologize for reaching you at this email address, it is the one that Rhona had on file,” Ciletti wrote to a GOP donor, who requested anonymity to avoid angering Trump.
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According to the law a superPAC can have no contact with the candidate and/or the campaign. The use of the email list and invoking Ms. Graff’s name was a violation of that law. Beyond that the purpose of a superPac is to grab cash from the big money donors (like the one Ciletti sent the email to) the fact that Ciletti was trying to get money from these big money donors went against Trump’s promise that he would fund the campaign by himself so the he would be beholden to no one.
In that October story the Post exposed the fact that the Trump campaign was paying money to two firms associated with the head of the superPac Ciletti:
The Post identified a second firm connected to Ciletti that has been paid by Trump’s presidential campaign at the same time the consultant has been working for the super PAC.
According to Federal Election Commission filings, the campaign directed $33,000 to a firm called DC Connect for telemarketing in May, June and July. Ciletti incorporated the Aurora, Co.-based company in April, state corporate filings show.
The Post previously reported that the campaign paid $56,000 to WizBang Solutions, a Commerce City, Co.-based printing company where Ciletti serves as a director.
After the Washington Post exposed the superPac monkey business, Trump closed it down. But according to Monday’s story in the Post Trump continued to pay (and accelerated payments) Ciletti’s firm.
In late October, Ciletti said he was shutting down the super PAC in the wake of The Post’s reporting. “It’s an issue that I have relationships with Mr. Trump’s staff,” he said at the time.
In the two months that followed, the Trump campaign dramatically increased its payments to Commerce City, Co.-based WizBang Solutions, paying the firm nearly $488,000 for printing and design services in the final quarter of 2015, campaign finance records show.
Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Ms. Gold that “the expenditures were for ‘collateral materials.’ When asked why the payments to WizBang Solutions increased dramatically, he responded, ‘We are running for President of the United States.'”
Lewandowski may be telling the honest truth (although my only other experience with him began because he was lying on National TV)
On the other hand as reported in Monday’s Washington post piece, “it remains a mystery how much it [the superPac] raised or how it spent its money before shutting down. The group failed to file its year-end report to the FEC by Sunday’s midnight deadline.”
It’s a bit strange that the deadline was missed after all the superPac’s been dead since October. In other words the Make America Great Again PAC has had a longer time time make the filings than the PACs that are still operating.