Democrats are trying to close a loophole that may have let Michael Cohen earn millions in controversial contracts

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesMichael Cohen.
  • Democrats want to close a lobbying loophole that may have allowed President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to collect controversial payments.
  • Democrats will unveil that proposal as part of their anti-corruption agenda, which they plan to release Monday.

Democrats are trying to close a loophole that may have let President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen accept controversial payments totaling millions from major corporations.

As a part of the party’s “A Better Deal” platform, which they released the first planks of last year, Democrats are planning to highlight the alleged corruption of the Trump administration and proposing a list of policies to help prevent future instances,The Washington Post reported Monday.

Among those legislative proposals, one such fix would tighten the laws around lobbying disclosure and foreign asset registration.

That proposal comes in response to Cohen’s recently revealed financial dealings, which showed that he accepted millions in payments from major corporations that wanted access to the president – including telecom giant AT&T and the pharmaceutical company Novartis – following the 2016 presidential election. Cohen did not disclose the payments or register as a lobbyist, which may have been because under federal law a person is only required to do so if they spend more than 20% of their time lobbying on a client’s behalf, The Post wrote.

Democrats are proposing a change to that law which would make it so that any such contract would have to be publicly disclosed.

Another reason Cohen may not have disclosed the payments was because they were not in exchange for “action” on any one issue but simply to gain access to the president, which one expert recently told Business Insider “may well be legal,” pointing to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the corruption case involving former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia.

But Democrats, in their legislative proposals, also address that issue, seeking to rewrite statutes that may have allowed lawmakers such as McDonnell and Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey to skirt convictions on such pay-to-play allegations.

Democrats will introduce their anti-corruption proposals, billed as “A Better Deal for Our Democracy,” on Monday.

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