Liberal Activist Calls for Probe of Stormy Daniels Payoff

CYBERSPACE—David Brock, founder of the liberal media watchdog site and think tank Media Matters For America, announced on Tuesday that he had filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission demanding an investigation into Donald Trump’s reported $130,000 payment to AVN Hall of Famer Stormy Daniels, a payment that Brock says may have violated campaign finance laws—and could even lead to a new FBI investigation of Trump, separate from the current investigation into whether he use his Russia ties to influence the 2016 presidential election.

According a January 12 report by the Wall Street Journal, Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels the six-figure sum in October of 2016—less than a month before the election—to buy her silence about a sexual affair she had with Trump 10 years earlier.

Though Daniels has remained mum about the alleged affair since the Journal story appeared, about a week later InTouch Weekly magazine published a 2011 interview with Daniels that it had previously suppressed, in which the star recounted her affair with Trump in intimate detail.

“The American people deserve to know the truth about why their president was paying $130,000 to a former paramour in apparent exchange for her silence in the middle of the campaign,” Brock, 55, wrote in an op-ed article for the NBC News site. “And whether he broke federal election law or violated the public trust in the process.”

But according to Brock, his request for an investigation into the alleged payoff is motivated by far greater concerns than the possibility that a technical campaign law may have been broken.

“A full accounting of Trump's wrongdoing may implicate him in more than a campaign finance scandal. We deserve to know what, exactly, Stormy Daniels was paid to keep quiet,” Brock wrote. “Would he really pay out $130,000 just to conceal an affair—or does Daniels know something that has yet to be revealed?”

The possibility that Trump paid money to silence someone with potentially damaging information about him while he was just a candidate also raises the chilling possibility that Trump could be subject to blackmail in the office he now holds—and could use taxpayer money to quell any threats.

“Now that he is president, Trump is in a position to give away a lot more than $130,000 of his own money to someone who knows something damaging about his past,” Brock says in his NBC article. “Everything I have ever learned about Trump’s character suggests to me that he would be more than willing to sell out American interests in order to keep embarrassing personal indiscretions out of the public eye.”

Brock is a former conservative journalist who became widely known for his bestselling 1993 book The Real Anita Hill, in which he accused Hill, who accused then-Supreme Count nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, of lying.

But just four years later, Brock renounced his previous conservative beliefs, in a now-classic Esquire magazine essay entitled “Confessions of a Right-Wing Hit Man.” Brock then embarked on a career as a top Democratic activist and operative, striking an allegiance to Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom he had previously attacked. Brock recanted many of his claims about the Clintons as well as the reporting in his Anita Hill book, which he claimed was part of a Republican disinformation campaign.

Brock’s call for an investigation into the alleged Trump hush money payoff to Daniels is not the first such request. About 10 days after the Wall Street Journal story revealing the payout appeared, the watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint with the FEC as well as with the Justice Department, saying that the alleged payoff should have been reported as a campaign contribution because it was intended to affect the election, and as a political donation, it came in well over the legal limit of $2,700.

Photo above from a speech on by Brock to the Commonwealth Club