Stefanik files ethics complaint against Merchan over daughter's fundraising

By Jen Krausz on
 May 22, 2024

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) filed an ethics complaint with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct against Judge Juan Merchan on Tuesday, alleging that he should recuse himself in the Manhattan trial of former President Donald Trump because his daughter has been using the trial to fundraise for Democrats.

“Judge Merchan currently presides over the criminal case against President Donald J. Trump brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg,” Stefanik wrote in the complaint. “If convicted, President Trump faces a maximum of 136 years’ imprisonment. Moreover, he is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for this November’s presidential election. As such, not only are President Trump’s interests at stake, the interests of all Americans are at stake.”

Loren Merchan, as president of digital marketing and fundraising agency Authentic Campaigns, has several clients who have used the trial to fundraise.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the Senate Majority PAC are both clients of Authentic Campaigns and have mentioned the trial in fundraising emails that contributed to efforts that netted them collectively close to $100 million.

“In other words, the clients of Judge Merchan’s daughter have raked in nearly $100 million and have used President Trump’s indictment — a case over which her father presides — as fundraising fodder,” Stefanik wrote. “It is common sense that, if these groups make no money, they cannot afford to pay for services provided by individuals such as Ms. Merchan. The more money raised, the more it can be spent on services.”

Stefanik said Merchan was violating the Rules of Judicial Conduct for the New York State Unified Court System, which state that if a judge or a person who is close to them “has an interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding,” they should recuse themselves from that case.