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CLEVELAND — A longtime employee of the Trump Organization took responsibility for lifting two passages, from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama, for Melania Trump’s address on Monday at the Republican National Convention, saying that it was an innocent mistake.
“In working with Melania on her recent first lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people,” Ms. McIver wrote. “A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama,” she added.
McIver does not appear to have any official role in the presidential campaign. Her letter acknowledging her role in the speech debacle appeared on corporate letterhead from the Trump Organization. And she is not listed as being paid by the Trump campaign on any available reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Corporations are banned from donating directly or through in-kind services to political campaigns. McIver could have volunteered her services, but her offer to resign from the Trump Organization suggests that she was acting within her job responsibilities.
“Given the identification of McIver as an ‘in-house staff writer’ at the Trump Organization in both the statement and letter, and her resignation from the Trump Organization ― printed on Trump Organization stationary ― and not the campaign, it appears that corporate resources may have been used to prepare the speech,” said Jordan Libowitz, communications director for the campaign finance watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “That would make the speech an illegal in-kind corporate contribution from the Trump Organization to the campaign.”