Michael Cohen, a Trump Organization executive, has confirmed to Newsmax that he has filed the necessary paperwork to create a non-profit group in California with the express purpose of urging billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump to throw his hat in the ring as a 2012 presidential candidate.
Cohen, who provides political advice to Trump and works for his organization, confirmed to Newsmax that he has filed the necessary paperwork to establish the “Should Trump Run, Inc.,” organization. It is designed as a vehicle for Trump supporters to volunteer and donate money to encourage his candidacy, a mechanism that Cohen says has not previously existed.
Cohen is executive vice president and special counsel to Donald Trump. He said Trump is “generally aware of his website,” but not necessarily other specifics.
“When I tell him the number of people who have come to the site and are now joining, he’s really very touched by it,” Cohen told Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “Clearly, it means his statements, policies, and principles are resonating with people.”
Cohen added that Trump is “really upset” with President Barack Obama’s performance in office, but is displeased with the GOP’s recent record as well.
“He’s also disappointed with how the Republican Party is handling the country,” Cohen said. “He’s said several times that if the Republicans do not nominate a person he thinks can defeat Obama, someone that he has faith and confidence in, then he will run as an independent,” he said.
The Trump executive said that an Orange County, Calif., trial attorney, Paul Jensen of Jensen & Associates, filed the paperwork to create the organization.
A second source familiar with the endeavor tells Newsmax that the group was registered Thursday with the Internal Revenue Service as a 527 political organization. 527s are created specifically to influence election outcomes, including the nomination of candidates for local, state, and federal offices.
They report to the IRS rather than the Federal Election Commission.
A 527 group based in California could prove very useful in fund-raising. There are no ceiling limits on contributions to 527s, and no restrictions on what types of entities or individuals may contribute to them.
The 527 organization is not the first time Cohen has ventured into presidential politics on behalf of his billionaire boss.
Last year, Cohen co-founded the ShouldTrumpRun.com web site, which he says has received over 1.5 million hits.
ABC News has described Cohen as a registered Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and says he is known around New York as Trump’s “pitbull.”
Interest in a Trump presidential candidacy and a possible third-party bid has continued unabated, despite his May assurance to a group of NBC advertisers that he had decided not to toss his hat in the ring.
Establishing a 527 organization is likely to be viewed as an indication that Trump is still seriously considering a presidential run in 2012. When Newsmax suggested that people would assume he is acting on Trump’s behalf, Cohen bristled.
“I’m not interested in people’s presumptions,” he said. “The bottom line is it’s an independent website that Mr. Trump does not have control over. ShouldTrumpRun is an independent website. I’m the founder of it.
“I’ve just decided now I’m going to revamp the site from an informational standpoint to really a grass-roots movement in order to enlist people – and more importantly, to go out and start raising contributions.
“Tens of thousands of people have joined already, and a preponderance of them are asking, ‘How do we get involved? How do we donate? How do we donate our time and our money?’
“They really believe the principles and the policies espoused by Mr. Trump,” Cohen told Newsmax. “They’re straight forward, they’re no nonsense, and they make sense. And they’re resonating with the people.”
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