Close
Date TimeFebruary 20, 2018
VoiceWASHINGTON — The Common Cause watchdog group on Tuesday asked the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission to investigate a reported six-figure payment to a former Playboy model who has claimed an affair with President Trump.
In its complaints, the group said a $150,000 payment in August 2016 from the parent company of the National Enquirer to Karen McDougal was intended to "buy and bury" the story of her affair with Trump and amounted to an illegal, in-kind contribution to Trump's presidential campaign.

Corporations are banned from donating directly to federal candidates, and individuals could not donate more than $2,700 to a candidate during the 2016 campaign for the primary or general election.
In a story published Sunday, The New York Times said Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen had received information from both American Media, the tabloid's owner, and McDougal's attorney in the summer of 2016 about the American Media payment to McDougal for the exclusive rights to her claims of an affair.
The tabloid did not publish her story, but The Wall Street Journal published an article about McDougal's claims in the days before the 2016 election. Last week, The New Yorker magazine published an interview with McDougal in which she claimed the contract with America Media "took my rights away."
Trump has denied the affair. Officials with American Media have said they could not corroborate McDougal's story of the affair. The company's chairman, David Pecker, has been friends with Trump for decades.
"Despite the level of hysteria and partisanship in American politics, we are surprised and disappointed by the unprecedented attack on a media company by an organization that purports to value free speech," American Media officials said in a statement Tuesday about the Common Cause complaint.
"Fortunately, the First Amendment does not play politics, and we look forward to the opportunity to respond to these meritless claims."
Alleged $150K payoff to Trump accuser, ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal: Was it illegal?
Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY on Tuesday.
The complaint marks second time in recent weeks that Common Cause has sought a federal probe into an alleged payoff tied to Cohen, who now serves as Trump's personal lawyer.
More: President Trump's lawyer leaves a string of questions about the porn star and Trump
More: 'New Yorker' says handwritten note by former Playmate details affair with Trump
Last week, Cohen acknowledged that he helped arrange a $130,000 payment to another woman, former porn star Stephanie Clifford, who has claimed a 2006 affair with Trump. The payment to Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels, came just weeks before the 2016 general election.
"Transparency and the rule of law are vital to the health of our democracy and that is precisely why this case, like the Stormy Daniels hush money case, must be fully investigated," Karen Hobert Flynn, the president of Common Cause, said in a statement. "Americans have a right to know who is spending money to influence the election of the president of the United States."

Related Stories
Pete Buttigieg calls Vice President Pence a cheerleader for the porn star presidencyPete Buttigieg calls Vice President Pence a 'cheerleader for the porn star presidency'
Tim Apple: Donald Trump gets name of tech giants CEO wrong'Tim Apple': Donald Trump gets name of tech giant's CEO wrong
New York attorney general is investigating Trump projectsNew York attorney general is investigating Trump projects
North Korea rocket site is being monitored in real time, U.S. official saysNorth Korea rocket site is being monitored 'in real time,' U.S. official says
Robert Mueller report will be a gold mine of improprieties. Trump shouldnt celebrate yetRobert Mueller report will be a gold mine of improprieties. Trump shouldn't celebrate yet
Trump to make $8.6 billion wall demand, triggering new standoff with CongressTrump to make $8.6 billion wall demand, triggering new standoff with Congress
Beto O’Rourke says he is running for US presidentBeto O’Rourke says he is running for US president
Jay Leno: Late-Night Shows Are Too PoliticalJay Leno: Late-Night Shows Are Too Political
Paul Manafort Sentenced To Less Than 4 Years In Prison In Mueller ProbePaul Manafort Sentenced To Less Than 4 Years In Prison In Mueller Probe
Trump to lift not necessary North Korea sanctions, White House confirmsTrump to lift 'not necessary' North Korea sanctions, White House confirms
News Trends
Lyra McKee funeral: politicians urged to seize the momentLyra McKee funeral: politicians urged to seize the moment
The Greta Thunberg effect: her activism in London in two minutes - videoThe Greta Thunberg effect: her activism in London in two minutes - video
Jennifer Garner thinks her face on cover of Peoples Beautiful Issue is so ridiculousJennifer Garner thinks her face on cover of People's Beautiful Issue is 'so ridiculous'
Rapper Bun B Shoots Armed Robber in His Houston HomeRapper Bun B Shoots Armed Robber in His Houston Home
SpaceX Crew Dragon Accident Another Bump in the Road for Commercial CrewSpaceX Crew Dragon Accident Another Bump in the Road for Commercial Crew
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wrote a sweet birthday message for Prince Louis, but some people think it broke royal protocolMeghan Markle and Prince Harry wrote a sweet birthday message for Prince Louis, but some people think it broke royal protocol
Elon Musk told this Reddit user they should interview at Tesla, heres whyElon Musk told this Reddit user they 'should interview at Tesla', here's why
‘His career was incredible’. Billy McNeill was a winner as player and manager‘His career was incredible’. Billy McNeill was a winner as player and manager
Natalie Portman makes a surprise appearance at the Avengers: Endgame premiereNatalie Portman makes a surprise appearance at the Avengers: Endgame premiere
Seahawks, Chiefs blow up NFL draft with Frank Clark tradeSeahawks, Chiefs blow up NFL draft with Frank Clark trade
Celebrities
Lady-GagaLady Gaga
American singer-songwriter
BeyoncéBeyoncé
American singer-songwriter
Ellen-DeGeneresEllen DeGeneres
American comedian
Justin-BieberJustin Bieber
Canadian singer-songwriter
Selena-GomezSelena Gomez
American singer
Stephen-ColbertStephen Colbert
American comedian
Ariana-GrandeAriana Grande
American singer
MadonnaMadonna
American singer-songwriter
Miley-CyrusMiley Cyrus
American singer-songwriter
Kim-KardashianKim Kardashian
American media personality
Related Stories
Pete Buttigieg calls Vice President Pence a cheerleader for the porn star presidencyPete Buttigieg calls Vice President Pence a 'cheerleader for the porn star presidency'
Tim Apple: Donald Trump gets name of tech giants CEO wrong'Tim Apple': Donald Trump gets name of tech giant's CEO wrong
New York attorney general is investigating Trump projectsNew York attorney general is investigating Trump projects
North Korea rocket site is being monitored in real time, U.S. official saysNorth Korea rocket site is being monitored 'in real time,' U.S. official says
Robert Mueller report will be a gold mine of improprieties. Trump shouldnt celebrate yetRobert Mueller report will be a gold mine of improprieties. Trump shouldn't celebrate yet
Trump to make $8.6 billion wall demand, triggering new standoff with CongressTrump to make $8.6 billion wall demand, triggering new standoff with Congress
Beto O’Rourke says he is running for US presidentBeto O’Rourke says he is running for US president
Jay Leno: Late-Night Shows Are Too PoliticalJay Leno: Late-Night Shows Are Too Political
Paul Manafort Sentenced To Less Than 4 Years In Prison In Mueller ProbePaul Manafort Sentenced To Less Than 4 Years In Prison In Mueller Probe
Trump to lift not necessary North Korea sanctions, White House confirmsTrump to lift 'not necessary' North Korea sanctions, White House confirms
News Trends
Lyra McKee funeral: politicians urged to seize the momentLyra McKee funeral: politicians urged to seize the moment
The Greta Thunberg effect: her activism in London in two minutes - videoThe Greta Thunberg effect: her activism in London in two minutes - video
Jennifer Garner thinks her face on cover of Peoples Beautiful Issue is so ridiculousJennifer Garner thinks her face on cover of People's Beautiful Issue is 'so ridiculous'
Rapper Bun B Shoots Armed Robber in His Houston HomeRapper Bun B Shoots Armed Robber in His Houston Home
SpaceX Crew Dragon Accident Another Bump in the Road for Commercial CrewSpaceX Crew Dragon Accident Another Bump in the Road for Commercial Crew
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wrote a sweet birthday message for Prince Louis, but some people think it broke royal protocolMeghan Markle and Prince Harry wrote a sweet birthday message for Prince Louis, but some people think it broke royal protocol
Elon Musk told this Reddit user they should interview at Tesla, heres whyElon Musk told this Reddit user they 'should interview at Tesla', here's why
‘His career was incredible’. Billy McNeill was a winner as player and manager‘His career was incredible’. Billy McNeill was a winner as player and manager
Natalie Portman makes a surprise appearance at the Avengers: Endgame premiereNatalie Portman makes a surprise appearance at the Avengers: Endgame premiere
Seahawks, Chiefs blow up NFL draft with Frank Clark tradeSeahawks, Chiefs blow up NFL draft with Frank Clark trade
Celebrities
Lady-GagaLady Gaga
American singer-songwriter
BeyoncéBeyoncé
American singer-songwriter
Ellen-DeGeneresEllen DeGeneres
American comedian
Justin-BieberJustin Bieber
Canadian singer-songwriter
Selena-GomezSelena Gomez
American singer
Stephen-ColbertStephen Colbert
American comedian
Ariana-GrandeAriana Grande
American singer
MadonnaMadonna
American singer-songwriter
Miley-CyrusMiley Cyrus
American singer-songwriter
Kim-KardashianKim Kardashian
American media personality
Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, is pregnant, report says
China and Europe love SpaceX's new Falcon Heavy rocket. Does NASA?
Say goodbye to Android Pay and hello to Google Pay
‘Black Panther’ Marks A New Kind Of Black Superhero Movie
Chelsea prepare for Barcelona clash but what is David Luiz doing to Tiemoue Bakayoko?
Man City star Sergio Aguero 'PUNCHES' Wigan fan after shocking FA Cup defeat - WATCH
American ice dance duo Madison Chock and Evan Bates suffer shocking fall in long program
Meghan Markle receives royal secretary ahead of wedding to Prince Harry
President Trump endorses Mitt Romney in Utah Senate race
Oxfam apologises to Haiti over sex allegations
Jimmy Fallon Duets With Paul Rudd in Olympics-Shortened, 5-Minute Version of 'Tonight Show'
Woman from iconic shooting photo: I hate it
Winter Olympics: Golden comeback for Canadian skaters Moir and Virtue
Al Franken was accused of sexual harassment. Now, he’s canceled his Miami appearance
Google hopes AI can predict heart disease by looking at retinas
Pennsylvania Supreme Court issues new election map
Tessa Virtue And Scott Moir Break Their Own World Record In Ice Dance Short Program
Afrin: Syria 'sending fighters to help Kurds against Turkey'
Kremlin dismisses Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians
Duchess of Cambridge opts for green as black dresses sweep BAFTAs
Draymond Green laughed at Fergie's bizarre anthem performance
May warns universities over high cost of tuition fees
BREAKING: Mexico hit by 6.1 magnitude earthquake - people in streets as quake rocks Oaxaca
Six-year-old CHILD and three others wounded in Texas shooting, gunman at large
Trump slams Oprah, hopes to see her 2020 run to 'expose and defeat'
Berlin: 'Game of Thrones' Producer Frank Doelger to Head Intaglio Films (Exclusive)
Two hikers missing after Swiss avalanche
SpaceX to launch demo satellites for its high-speed internet project
5 killed in church shooting in Dagestan
Emma Watson donates £1 million to anti-sexual harassment campaign
The Latest: Netanyahu to Poland: Don't rewrite Holocaust
Greg Gutfeld's review of the Winter Olympics
SpaceX Delays Next Falcon 9 Rocket Launch to Feb. 21
Passenger plane crashes in Iran with 66 aboard, report says
Reports: Padres, 1B Eric Hosmer agree to deal
Neil Kinnock warns Jeremy Corbyn: ‘Stop Brexit to save the NHS’
Florida Agency Investigated Nikolas Cruz After Violent Social Media Posts
Trump Cites Facebook Executive In ‘Fake News’ Twitter Rant Over Indictments
13 dead after helicopter crash at Mexico earthquake site
Nathan Chen makes Olympic history by landing 6 quads
Wales shaken by 4.4 magnitude earthquake
Nigeria: three suicide bombers kill at least 20 people at market
BREAKING: Great Portland Street fire: 50 fire fighters swarm Soho near BBC building
Russia's Lavrov says reports on US election interference 'just blather'
Italian police clashes with anti-fascists leaves 7 injured
Trump meets Florida school shooting survivors as calls grow for tougher gun laws
Alleged Ex-Trump Paramour Says 'Catch And Kill' Practice Kept Her Quiet
Big Mexico quake cuts power and damages homes; two dead in crash
Trump visits Florida hospital, sheriff's office after Parkland shooting
'Did you learn anything new today?' Angela Merkel SMIRKS after this Brexit question
FBI failed to act on tip accused Florida gunman wanted to kill
Mueller indicts 13 Russian nationals over 2016 US election meddling
Mitt Romney, Trump critic on the right, poised for Senate run in Utah
Theresa May heads to Berlin to try and bypass Michel Barnier, but will it work? 
London Fashion Week protested by topless PETA activists and plus size women in lingerie
Canary Islands La Palma volcano hit by 70 earthquakes sparking emergency response
Skater Nathan Chen bobbles his Olympic short program; Yuzuru Hanyu leads
Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman: 'Everybody’s minds are opening up'
Google Image Search removes View Image button and Search by Image feature
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announce separation
Jimmy Kimmel Parody Ad Mocks Trump Lawyer Porn Star Payoff
Read Trump's speech addressing the Parkland school shooting
Florida shooting: First look as Nikolas Cruz arrives at jail, handcuffed in hospital robe
UK blames Russia for 'malicious' NotPetya cyber-attack
US superstar Mikaela Shiffrin wins giant slalom gold
'Incredibles 2' Olympics Spot Is a Super-Powered Family Reunion
Jacob Zuma resigns as South Africa's president on eve of no-confidence vote
Allison Janney on How Tonya Harding Reacted to 'I, Tonya'
CNN Analyst Tears Up During Live Broadcast of Florida Shooting Coverage
Who is Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz?
US Vice President Mike Pence says he ignored Kim Jong Un's sister
Cisco: We're moving our $67 billion cash pile to the U.S
Real Madrid v PSG: Champions League
Florida school shooting suspect in custody, police say
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to run for Senate: source
Barack and Michelle Obama post sweet tweets to each other for Valentine's Day
Trump Threatens to Veto Immigration Bills that Don't Meet His Demands
How 'I, Tonya' Editor Made the Nancy Kerrigan Assault Scary Again
The FBI, CIA and NSA say American citizens shouldn't use Huawei phones
Celebrate Valentine's Day tonight - and fast on Ash Wednesday tomorrow, Catholics told 
Heathrow Airport crash: One dead and plane evacuated after horrifying collision on tarmac
Google's Chrome ad blocking arrives tomorrow and this is how it works
Authorities respond to shooting at NSA facility
The Latest: Israel opposition calls on Netanyahu to resign
Engine Cover Blows Off on United Airlines Flight
How a porn star taught a law class on Kimmel's show
Shaun White Makes History With Gold Medal Win In Halfpipe
Full time in Turin: Juventus 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
White House wants to deliver food to the poor, Blue Apron-style
US-led strikes kill 100 RUSSIANS in first armed conflict between nations since Vietnam War
Israeli police to recommend indicting Netanyahu over alleged bribery in two cases: media
Have years of scandal finally caught up with Jacob Zuma?
Russian plane crash caused by pilots’ error on speed data, investigators say
Oxfam workers could face UK prosecution over sex crimes 
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, loses court bid to have UK arrest warrant dropped
Bill & Melinda Gates: Why we give our money away
'The Bachelor' recap: Three women exit before the hometown dates
Julian Assange saga: judge to rule on arrest warrant
Watch Boston Dynamics' Creepy Robot Dogs Team Up To Enter Your Nightmares
Chloe Kim wins gold in women's snowboard halfpipe at 2018 Winter Olympics
YouTube not ready to kick out Logan Paul, CEO Susan Wojcicki says
Questions surround death of environmentalist in Iranian prison
'Chelsea Bomber' Ahmad Rahimi to be sentenced Tuesday
Kim Jong Un 'impressed' with South Korea's efforts, state media says
Report: Japanese speedskater Kei Saito has positive doping test
Trump Jr.'s wife rushed to hospital after opening letter with white powder
Unilever warns social media to clean up “toxic” content
White House budget proposes increase to defense spending and cuts to safety net, but federal deficit would remain
Obamas' official portraits unveiled
Funeral recalls NFL player Edwin Jackson, killed in crash
Lincoln, Darwin: Same birthdate, vastly different lives
Winter Olympics day three – in pictures
Facebook is losing younger users to Snapchat, according to a study
If you're not watching women's hockey, you're missing out
Russia plane crash responders find 200 body parts
Mike Pence says U.S. ready to talk with North Korea
New York Attorney General Files a Lawsuit Against Harvey Weinstein
'Our Cartoon President': Meet the Voices Behind Trump and Co
London airport closed after WWII bomb discovered
Victoria Beckham bids farewell to New York fashion week on a high
The truth is out there! Hundreds of 'UFO and alien sightings' in UK reported to police
The Equifax Hack Exposed More Data Than Previously Reported
Conway on Porter's alleged abuse: 'I have no reason not to believe these women'
Prominent Pakistani rights activist Asma Jahangir dies aged 66
71 feared dead as Russian plane crashes near Moscow 
North Korea invite is dramatic gesture, but not diplomatic breakthrough
UFC 221 Results: Yoel Romero starches Luke Rockhold to move back into title contention
Vladimir Putin PLEAS with Israel's Netanyahu not go to WAR with Iran as conflict escalates
Siri on HomePod Correctly Answered 52.3% of Queries in New AI Test
Oscars: What's at Stake for the Best Picture Studios
Luther star Idris Elba to marry beauty queen Sabrina Dhowre
Yu Darvish, Cubs reach $126 million, 6-year deal
Watch Stephen Colbert Ask John Oliver Intimate Questions in His "Personal Space" Box
Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson dead at 48
'They are LIARS' Middle East tensions erupt as Israeli fighter jet attacked by Iran
Russia concerned by attacks in Syria, calls for restraint: Ministry
Ellen Pompeo on "Empowering" Decision to Reveal Her $20M Salary
Liam Neeson Auditions to Be Cupid in 'Late Show' Sketch
Should Zach LaVine's minute-restriction make way for the Bulls' winning restriction?
Paul Rudd and Jimmy Fallon Star in "King of Wishful Thinking" Music Video
The Olympics Opening Ceremony Drone Show Is Just So Damn Impressive
Israeli F-16 jet shot down by Syrian fire, military says
Kim Jong Un invites South Korean President Moon to Pyongyang
Here’s how to make the most out of National Pizza Day (yes, it’s a thing)
WhatsApp update lets you send MONEY within chat app
Constipation pain? This simple exercise could help get rid of bloating
Trump says he was 'surprised' by abuse allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter
What happened to the Tesla that Elon Musk shot into space?
How Elon Musk cleverly used the Starman to promote his car brand (Tesla)
Justin Timberlake Brings Selfie Kid To Tears With An Even Better Surprise
The best photos of the 2018 Winter Olympics
Pence and Kim Jong Un's sister sat meters from each other at the winter games' opening ceremony
Trudeau to Facebook: Fix your fake news problem or face stricter regulations
Kim Yo-jong arrives in South Korea: What we know about the North Korean ‘princess'
Senate votes to reopen government and boost spending; House vote looms
Qualcomm Rejects Broadcom's `Best and Final' $121 Billion Bid
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Really Wants Toronto to Get Amazon's Second Headquarters
Asteroid passing close to Earth today – no need to worry
What The White House Won’t Say About Rob Porter’s Exit
Chicago is bracing for its biggest snow since 2015
US issues security alert for Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
CNN Had Booked Holocaust-Denying Candidate On Multiple Shows
Coldest Winter Olympics in decades
Tom Hardy Venom movie trailer is coming TOMORROW: Confirmed! Will Spider-Man appear?
Bring 'food, snacks, patience' to Eagles parade, city officials say
Twitter just had its first profitable quarter
George W. Bush: It’s Pretty Clear That Russia Meddled In 2016 Election
Ending NAFTA Would Be Bad Politics And Bad For Americans: Trudeau
Here's what's next for SpaceX after Falcon Heavy's first flight
Nancy Pelosi tells US House immigrant stories for eight hours
South Korea's President Moon to meet Kim Jong Un's sister at Olympics
Russia to launch military satellite in WEEKS as Putin sends missiles to Baltic Sea
Kylie Jenner's Baby Stormi photo becomes the most liked photo on Instagram, surpassing Beyonce
Microsoft targets Box, Dropbox and Google customers with OneDrive offer
TV Ratings: 'This Is Us' Sees Minor Super Bowl Lift
First modern Britons had 'dark to black' skin, Cheddar Man DNA analysis reveals
100-million-year-old spider with a tail longer than its body discovered - and it may still be alive
Eiffel Tower closed as heavy snowfall blankets Paris
Snapchat overhaul convinces investors it can fight Instagram
Watch James Corden Show 'Fifty Shades' Star Jamie Dornan His "Playroom"
Trump: ‘I’d Love To See A Shutdown’ If Congress Doesn’t Agree On Immigration
SpaceX successfully launches world's most powerful rocket
Kylie Jenner reveals her baby's name
UK snow: Britain braced for coldest night in SIX YEARS with big freeze to last until MARCH
John Kelly warns Trump won't intervene in DACA deadline
2 killed, more than 140 injured after 6.4 magnitude earthquake strikes Taiwan's coast
Margot Robbie Reveals Why Tonya Harding Was the Perfect Golden Globes Date
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy: The countdown is on
Trump to call for closing immigration 'loopholes' to fight MS-13
Washington sends message to North Korea as Pence heads to Winter Olympics
Major Jacob Zuma speech postponed as departure looms
Bitcoin falls; half its value lost in 2018
Watch the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch Today
Oscars: 100-Plus Nominees Gather for Lunch and Class Photo
FTSE 100 LIVE update: FTSE down 250 points after Dow Jones and Nikkei plunge overnight
It’s my RIGHT to stay silent in court, claims terror suspect Salah Abdeslam
Amazon second headquarters: Some see a clue in Amazon's Alexa Super Bowl ad
Late-Night Hosts Tackle Philadelphia's Super Bowl Victory Reaction
Elon Musk: Falcon Heavy will be a 'great rocket launch or the best fireworks display'
Pirates release crew of oil tanker hijacked off West Africa
Close