The Federal Election Commission on Thursday closed the inquiry against the former guy and hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
The $130,000 payment was made by Michael Cohen two weeks before Election Day. Cohen has served time in prison for lying to Congress, breaking campaign finance laws and tax evasion, but Trump has not faced any consequences in the incident.
The FEC consists of three Democratic commissioners and three Republican commissioners. The decision was based on a 2-2 vote, while one Democrat was absent from the vote, and one Republican recused himself. Because of the tie, the case was dismissed.
The two Democrat commissioners, Shana Broussard and Ellen Weintraub, criticized the decision.
“To conclude that a payment, made 13 days before Election Day to hush up a suddenly newsworthy 10-year-old story, was not campaign-related, without so much as conducting an investigation, defies reality,” the women wrote in a joint letter about the decision.
The two Republican commissioners, Trey Trainor and Sean Cooksey, said they voted to dismiss by “prosecutorial discretion.”
“In sum, the public record is complete with respect to the conduct at issue in these complaints, and Mr. Cohen has been punished by the government of the United States for the conduct at issue in these matters,” Trainor and Cooksey said in a statement. “Thus, we concluded that pursuing these matters further was not the best use of agency resources.”
The FEC first launched its inquiry in 2018 after the nonprofit government watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint against the Trump campaign.
A Common Cause spokesman, Paul S. Ryan, said the decision showed how the FEC agency is “broken” and “dysfunctional.”
Ryan also encouraged the Justice Department to pursue an investigation of Trump’s role in the scheme before the statute of limitations expires in October.