According to Salon, White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner personally gave the okay for keeping salary payments to top Trump campaign officials off the books.
A source familiar with the arrangements told the publication that Jason Miller and Bill Stepien were among those whose payments were hidden.
Federal Election Commission records show that the Trump campaign has made no salary payments to chief strategist Jason Miller, who came on board in June, or to campaign manager Bill Stepien, who joined the campaign in late 2018 and took over the top job from Brad Parscale in July. Kushner agreed to both arrangements, and personally directed the payments to Miller, the person involved said.
While the Trump campaign has reported $20,000 monthly salary payments to chief of staff Stephanie Alexander and senior adviser Katrina Pierson, it has not done the same for COO Jeff DeWit or senior advisers Bob Paduchik and Bill Shine. Deputy campaign manager Justin Clark has not taken a direct payment from the campaign since February 2019, according to federal records.
These advisers have instead been paid through intermediaries, according to the report.
The source told Salon that “after salary negotiations with Miller, Kushner directed the campaign to route the top strategist’s $35,000 monthly payment through Jamestown Associates, a media and production firm where Miller once worked, and which the campaign contracts for video production.”
Miller, who is currently contesting child-support payments in court, requested the anonymous arrangement for the $420,000 annual rate, for unclear reasons. Communications, court documents and FEC filings reviewed by Salon make clear that the money was paid to by way of Jamestown. President Trump himself was aware of the deal, a person involved said.
Meanwhile, the campaign has not disclosed to the government that Miller was paid anything, with all payments to Jamestown recorded as being for “video production” and with no mention of Miller at all.
Stepien and fellow campaign adviser Justin Clark, both of whom worked in the White House until late 2018, reportedly were paid by Elections LLC, a legal firm that the two founded together in 2019. An individual involved said Kushner approved the arrangement.
Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told Salon that the allegation Kushner had signed off on the payment arrangements was false, and said that “the campaign reported all expenditures as required by federal law.” Murtaugh did not respond to specific follow-up questions about how top campaign officials were compensated.
When previously asked about the missing payroll receipts, Brendan Fischer, director of the Federal Reform Program at the Campaign Legal Center, told Salon, “It doesn’t surprise me at all. The Trump campaign has disguised millions of dollars in payments to personnel and vendors by routing the money through LLCs created or managed by senior Trump campaign officials.”