Rudy Giuliani's revelation that Donald Trump reimbursed his personal attorney for a $130,000 payment to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged affair is raising the possibility that the president and his campaign violated campaign finance laws.
And one of the more uncomfortable legal questions is coming from a man close to the Trump inner circle.
George Conway, an attorney whose wife is Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, tweeted a link Thursday morning to the Federal Election Commission's rules covering whether 'personal gifts and loans' to candidates are counted as campaign contributions.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani caused a political shock wave Wednesday night by saying the hush money, which originally came out of lawyer Michael Cohen's pocket, was reimbursed through a legal retainer over a period of months.
That would make it the equivalent of a loan to Trump. The regulations state that a loan given 'for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office' is considered 'a contribution from the donor to the campaign, subject to the per-election limit and reportable by the campaign.'
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani caused a political shock wave Wednesday night by saying the president reimbursed lawyer Michael Cohen for a hush-money payment to a porn star, through 'expenses' related to a legal retainer
George Conway (right), whose wife is Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, on Thursday tweeted a link to the Federal Election Commission's rules about whether loans to a candidate for the purpose of helping him win an election are counted as campaign cash
FEC regulations state that a loan given 'for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office' is considered 'a contribution from the donor to the campaign,' but if Cohen only made the loan to save Trump's marriage – not his candidacy – there's a loophole waiting for him
Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, insisted Wednesday night in a Fox News Channel interview that the $130,000 'was not campaign money. Sorry, I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know. It's not campaign money, no campaign finance violation.'
Thursday morning on the same network he said Cohen made the payment on his own, without Trump's knowledge, in an attempt to save the future president's marriage – not to increase his chances of winning the White House.
'I think he was trying to help the family,' he said of Cohen, adding that 'it wasn't for the campaign. It was to save their marriage.'
But in the same interview, he suggested that a bombshell claim from Daniels would have disastrous consequences for the president's political prospects.
'Imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton,' he said.
Conway's wife, Kellyanne Conway, is one of the closest advisers to the president