This newly reported information supports finding that Mr. Cohen made a loan to President Trump for which Mr. Cohen expected to be reimbursed after making a $130,000 payment on behalf of President Trump to Ms. Clifford as part of a nondisclosure agreement. If it was a loan, President Trump likely violated federal law by failing to disclose it as a liability on his OGE 278 report, filed in June 2017 and covering liabilities incurred in 2016 like this $130,000 payment.
To maintain public confidence in the integrity of the federal government, EIGA [the Ethics in Government Act] requires public filers such as President Trump to report the “identity and category of value of the total liabilities owed to any creditor . . . which exceed $10,000 at any time during the preceding calendar year.” . . . Failure to properly disclose information required to be reported on the OGE 278 can result in civil penalties and criminal prosecution. EIGA provides for civil penalties of up to $50,000, and imprisonment of up to one year for knowingly and willfully failing to report required information. Federal law further prohibits anyone from knowingly and willfully making “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch, with violations punishable by up to five years in prison.