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Democratic group accuses Trump of violating law by not declaring himself a presidential candidate

In its complaint, American Bridge cites the former president’s own words, including last month when he said, ‘We did it twice, and we will do it again’

Donald Trump at a March 12 rally in Florence, S.C. (Meg Kinnard/AP)

A Democratic super PAC said Monday that it is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing former president Donald Trump of “a clear violation of campaign finance law” by not formally declaring himself a 2024 presidential candidate.

In its complaint, American Bridge cites Trump’s own words, including last month as he addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. “We did it twice, and we will do it again,” Trump told the crowd, adding, “We are going to be doing it again a third time.”

Federal rules require candidates to file with the FEC within 15 days of receiving contributions or spending more than $5,000 to influence the election.

After declaring, a candidate is subject to donation limits and disclosure requirements that American Bridge contends Trump is willfully evading.

Trump’s leadership committee, Save America, has spent more than $100,000 per week recently on Facebook ads and has often raised more than $1 million per week, the group said. The complaint says Save America’s expenditures have included payments for events at Trump properties, rallies featuring Trump, consulting payments to former Trump campaign staffers and digital advertising about Trump’s events and about President Biden.

Trump touted a contest for small-dollar donors to dine with him in New Orleans. But no winner met him.

American Bridge is asking the FEC to investigate and “fine Mr. Trump the maximum amount permitted by law” if campaign finance violations are discovered.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich called the complaint a “cheap gimmick” that showed the Democratic Party “has become a dumpster fire that’s void of solutions and substance.”

“America is spiraling into disaster because of the Democrats’ failures, and instead of reversing course, they are busy filing frivolous complaints that have zero merit,” he said in a statement.

American Bridge President Jessica Floyd said Trump needs to be held accountable, including by fellow Republicans.

“Whenever they are taking a break from calling for tax hikes for Americans and Obamacare repeal, Republicans are scrambling to see who can praise Trump the most — even as he continues his effort to grift his way back to the White House,” Floyd said in a statement. “They should be ashamed to support such obvious lies, and we should all see him for what he is and hold him accountable.”

Trump for months has repeatedly hinted that he will make a third bid for the White House.

“We may have to run,” he told a crowd at a rally Saturday in South Carolina, predicting that Republicans in 2024 “are going to take back that beautiful, beautiful White House.”

“I wonder who will do that,” Trump added. “I wonder. I wonder.”

The American Bridge complaint cites other examples of Trump’s words on the subject.

Among them is an event in September in New York at which he was asked whether he plans to run again.

“Actually for me it’s an easy question,” Trump replied. “I mean, I know what I’m going to do, but we’re not supposed to be talking about it yet from the standpoint of campaign finance laws.”