Executive Branch

Trump lists reimbursement to Cohen; ethics office says disclosure was required

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President Donald Trump/Shutterstock.com.

President Donald Trump’s latest financial disclosure form reports that he paid more than $100,000 to his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as reimbursement for a payment to a third party.

Press coverage says the disclosure is an apparent reference to a reimbursement for Cohen’s $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels as part of a hush-money agreement. The Washington Post, Politico, BuzzFeed News, Bloomberg, the New York Times and USA Today have coverage.

The Office of Government Ethics released the disclosure form on Wednesday

The form says the reimbursement amount was between $100,001 and $250,000. The reimbursement was paid in full in 2017, and Cohen had requested the money for expenses incurred in 2016.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has contended that Trump should have reported the reimbursement last year. The Ethics in Government Act requires the president to disclose any liabilities that total more than $10,000 that occurred in the previous year, according to BuzzFeed News.

Trump’s latest form said the reimbursement was being reported “in the interest of transparency,” though it did not have to be disclosed as a reportable liability. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has characterized the repayment as taken from funds paid as a retainer for Cohen’s legal services that didn’t have to be listed as a debt, according to the BuzzFeed story.

The ethics office, however, said it has concluded “that the information related to the payment made by Mr. Cohen is required to be reported and that the information provided meets the disclosure requirement for a reportable liability.”

The disclosure shows Trump had at least $511 million in income in 2017, according to Bloomberg.

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