Buzzfeed News's Rosie Gray raised questions about Donald Trump special counsel Michael Cohen's role with the Trump presidential campaign and whether he may be violating campaign finance laws. Cohen has no official role on the campaign. "Michael Cohen is a corporate employee and is not affiliated with the campaign in any way," Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN. However, there are indications that there is close coordination between Cohen and the campaign.
The Daily Beast reached out to Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks on Monday regarding allegations Ivana Trump made about an incident in 1989. Ivana had characterized the incident as "rape" in a divorce deposition, but later clarified she wasn't talking about it in the literal or criminal sense. Hicks asked for a question in writing, via e-mail. The Daily Beast then heard back from Cohen, who proceeded to argue that spousal rape was not illegal. In that conversation, Cohen repeatedly read from the e-mail that we had sent the Trump campaign, suggesting that it had been forwarded between the Trump campaign and his corporate organization.
Citing a campaign finance regulations expert, Buzzfeed said it could be a violation of the law if Cohen were to reduce the amount of time working for the Trump in favor of the campaign without reducing his Trump Organization pay—this could constitute an illegal corporate in-kind contribution to Trump's campaign. It could also be a violation of the law if Cohen did more than four hours a month of campaign work during working hours, as that would be unlawful use of corporate resources for a federal campaign.