Three of the country’s best-known lawyers are asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate whether President Donald Trump broke the law when the Treasury Department put his name on coronavirus relief checks for Americans.
Lawyers Bruce Fein, Louis Fisher and Ralph Nader have sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr. They allege that Trump may be guilty of violating the Hatch Act, which bans government employees and public officials from taking part in partisan political activities while on the job.
“President Trump is actively seeking re-election. The signature of President Trump on United States Treasury checks is superfluous to their value, legality or authenticity. The signature serves no official government purpose,” the letter says. “It does serve Mr. Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign by making it appear that he is responsible for a monetary windfall to tens of millions of voters.”
The lawyers argue that a special prosecutor should look into the matter, calling it an improper use of government workers and equipment to promote Trump’s reelection.
Nader is an iconic voice of liberal and progressive policies. Fisher has worked in the administrations of both parties, and Fein is a longtime Republican.
Neither the White House nor Justice Department has responded to the letter.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says it was his idea to put Trump’s name on the checks.
Trump initially denied wanting his signature on them, but apparently did not make a major effort to stop it, saying he didn't “imagine it’s a big deal.”
“I’m sure people will be very happy to get a big, fat, beautiful check and my name is on it,” he said.
Some congressional Democrats call the Trump signature a political stunt, while Republicans say they agree with the president in believing it’s no big deal.