Bipartisan Wisconsin ethics commission refers Trump PAC for felony prosecution over alleged scheme

Donald Trump KEVIN WURM/AFP via Getty Images
Donald Trump KEVIN WURM/AFP via Getty Images
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A bipartisan ethics commission in Wisconsin on Friday recommended felony charges against one arm of Donald Trump's fundraising operation and other Republicans for a scheme they say was intended to skirt campaign finance laws and take down a powerful Republican lawmaker who distanced himself from the former president, the Washington Post reports. The referrals for prosecution, first reported by WisPolitics, were made public Friday and mark another legal trouble for Trump, who currently faces nearly 100 felony charges in four cases in state and local jurisdictions.

The Wisconsin Ethics Commission's investigation revolves around the 2022 primary race between Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, one of the state's most powerful Republicans, and political newcomer Adam Steen, who allied with the former president.

The commission this week found probable cause that Trump's Save America leadership PAC and several state and local GOP officials, committed felonies, alleging that Steen, Steen's campaign and three county Republicans attempted to circumvent campaign finance laws by funneling individual donors' money through one of the county parties to his campaign or vendors, records released Friday show. Wisconsin state law permits individuals and political entities to donate up to $1,000 each to candidates for the state Assembly but allows arms of political parties to give unlimited sums. Save America gave $15,000 to the country parties, donating $5,000 each to the Chippewa, Florence and Langlade county GOP.

The ethics commission, composed of three Republicans and three Democrats, also recommended a number of district attorneys investigate and prosecute the group, according to the records. The district attorneys have up to 60 days to act on the recommendation. At that point, the commission will have the authority to refer its prosecution request to Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul.