ADLF FILES CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP

The American Democracy Legal Fund has filed a criminal complaint with the Department of Justice to investigate whether Donald Trump violated federal law by offering Dr. Ben Carson an appointment to his administration in return for supporting his candidacy.

It has recently come to light that Mr. Donald Trump may have willfully offered Dr. Ben Carson an appointment to his administration should he become president in return for supporting his candidacy. Federal law prohibits a candidate from directly or indirectly promising the appointment of any person to any public or private position in exchange for his or her support.  Dr. Carson’s comments indicate that Mr. Trump used the promise of a role in his administration to secure Dr. Carson’s support for his presidential campaign.

The complaint is available below and in full with exhibits here. The American Democracy Legal Fund holds candidates for office accountable for possible ethics and/or legal violations. It was established by David Brock and is run by Brad Woodhouse. 

 

 American Democracy Legal Fund

455 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20001

March 15, 2016

Raymond Hulser

Chief, Public Integrity Section

Department of Justice, Criminal Division

Bond Building, 12th Floor

1400 New York Avenue, NW

 

Re:      Unlawful Promise of Administration Appointment

Dear Mr. Hulser:

American Democracy Legal Fund (“ADLF”) is a group established to hold candidates for office accountable for possible ethics and/or legal violations.  It has recently come to light that Mr. Donald Trump may have willfully offered Dr. Ben Carson an appointment to his administration should he become president in return for supporting his candidacy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 599.  ADLF respectfully requests that you investigate this matter and take all appropriate action as soon as possible.

Former presidential candidate Dr. Carson endorsed Mr. Trump for the Republican presidential nomination on March 11, 2016.  Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson met the day before to discuss and finalize the endorsement.  Three days later, on March 14, Dr. Carson gave an interview to Newsmax TV to discuss his recent endorsement of Mr. Trump.  During the interview, Dr. Carson stated that he believed Mr. Trump would “surround himself with very good people.”  When asked if he would be one of those people, Dr. Carson responded, “I will be doing things as well.”  When the interviewer asked whether that meant in a Trump administration, Dr. Carson replied, “Certainly in an advisory capacity.”  The interviewer then asked Dr. Carson if “that’s been determined” and followed by asking, “When you sat down with [Mr. Trump] that was discussed?”  Dr. Carson openly admitted, “Yes,” and said that while they “hadn’t hammered out all the details,” “it is very important that we work together.”  When asked if this meant a cabinet position, Dr. Carson declined to “reveal any details about it right now, because all of this is still very liquid.”

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 599, “[w]hoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

Dr. Carson’s comments strongly suggest that Mr. Trump promised him an administration position in return for his endorsement.  In his interview, Dr. Carson stated that he would “certainly” have an advisory capacity within a potential Trump administration.  When asked directly whether this role was discussed during their endorsement meeting, Dr. Carson responded, “Yes.”  Dr. Carson’s assured answers lead to the reasonable conclusion that Mr. Trump promised Dr. Carson an administration post in order to secure his endorsement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 599.

Federal law prohibits a candidate from directly or indirectly promising the appointment of any person to any public or private position in exchange for his or her support.  Dr. Carson’s comments indicate that Mr. Trump used the promise of a role in his administration to secure Dr. Carson’s support for his presidential campaign.  For the above stated reasons, we respectfully request that you undertake an immediate investigation of this matter.