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FEC Confirms Trump Hired Actors to Attend Campaign Launch

Donald Trump suppporters at a December 15, 2016 rally in Hershey, PA. (Photo: Michael Vadon/Flickr Creative Commons)

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has dismissed a case alleging Donald Trump’s presidential campaign broke the law by hiring actors to cheer the announcement of his presidential candidacy, while admitting Trump’s team paid for their services.

When Trump announced he was running for president in June 2015, there were reports his nascent campaign hired Gotham Government Relations, which in turn hired Extra Mile Casting to provide “people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement” at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Pay was listed at $50 for less than three hours of work. Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Corey Lewandowski, denied hiring extras to make Trump’s big announcement — the one where he called Mexicans “rapists” — seem even bigger.

“You know Donald Trump. There is nobody who believes that when Donald Trump goes somewhere he does not generate the biggest, largest, and most rambunctious crowds on the planet,” Lewandowski told Business Insider at the time. “It’s just not true, unequivocally. The Donald Trump campaign and Donald Trump did not pay anybody to attend his announcement.”

That may have been the first lie of the Trump campaign. A March 2016 report from the FEC general counsel released Thursday notes Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. admitted that it paid Gotham Government Relations $12,000, which in turn said it hired Extra Mile “to provide administrative support at Trump’s announcement.” Furthermore, the FEC general counsel said it was “clear” that the Trump campaign had failed to pay Gotham for several months, and then did not report that payment for even longer.

Owing to the “seemingly modest” sum of money involved, the FEC used its discretion and dismissed the complaint, which had been filed by the American Democracy Legal Fund.

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