The issue is simple: The National Enquirer sought out people who had dirt on Donald J. Trump, paid them for their stories while promising those stories would run, and then spiked the stories, making sure they couldn’t be told to another media outlet without breaking the contract and facing penalties.
The discovery of the concern and the issuance of a fine isn’t surprising, but this paragraph shows exactly the problem that existed within the Trump administration’s department of justice—there was no, you know, actual justice.
The available information indicates that during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, AMI and its executives, Pecker and Howard, paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal to purchase the rights to her claim that she engaged in a relationship with Trump beginning in 2006. AMI enteredinto a Non-Prosecution Agreement with DOJ on September 21, 2018. In that Non-Prosecution Agreement, AMI admitted that it made the payments to McDougal to ensure that she did notpublicize her allegations and “thereby influence [the 2016 presidential] election.”
After receiving all the information needed for this in 2018, the FEC sat on it (and it appears the Department of Justice did as well) until now. While it is certainly possible that the Department of Justice was building a more long-term case and that AIM media has more stories to tell in a broader case, it is more likely that this letter, and the fine, represent the conclusion of the story—after the 2020 election, which denied many American voters the knowledge of exactly how corrupt the 2016 campaign actions were, and the ongoing actions of the Department of Justice doing the slow walk for the Trump campaign.
It’s a new day, however, and AIM media will pay the fine. The $187,000 marks their participation in something illegal. Was that fine, long-delayed, worth it to them to get the electoral results they wanted? My guess is, unfortunately, yes.
It is time for much stiffer penalties and actions to stop this kind of corruption in campaigns.