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Kanye West’s stealthy 2020 presidential campaign tried to benefit Donald Trump

Republican operatives used Kanye West’s unsuccessful 2020 presidential bid as an opportunity to stealthily syphon votes from Joe Biden, a newly-published report says.

The report lays out how conservatives quietly managed the Grammy winning musician’s campaign in an effort to split Biden’s vote during the hotly-contested presidential race.

When announcing his candidacy July 4, 2020, West signaled that he no longer supported then-president Donald Trump and that he would either run as a Republican if Trump dropped out, or as an independent if not.

He denied at the time that his aim was to split the black vote and hurt the chances of Biden. It was ‘a form of racism and white supremacy’ to suggest all black people should support the Democrats, he said.

It’s now been revealed that West’s campaign team hid its connections to Republican hot shots, including influential party advisor and Virginia Senator Jill Vogel. 

Despite court documents reflecting that Vogel worked with West’s camp extensively, her name did not appear in FEC filings and the omission might have breached federal election laws, The Daily Beast reported.

The outlet said it obtained documents that show West’s campaign ‘disguised potentially millions of dollars in services it received from a secretive network of Republican Party operatives.’ West’s run for the White House – which he ended in June 2020 – is said to have been set-up to undermine Biden’s run for office, although its unclear if the rapper himself ran with this intention. 

The campaign also failed to disclose paying some advisors and disguised its commissioning of another with an abbreviation, the article said. 

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington spokesman Jordan Libowitz called the campaign’s bookkeeping a ‘disaster’ and said after reviewing stacks of documents that it raised questions.

‘This was absolutely amateur hour. And his campaign paid a lot of money for those results,’ Libowitz told the Daily Beast. 

‘It’s very clear that the whole point behind Kanye’s campaign was to try to re-elect Donald Trump. Whether that was a goal of Kanye is another issue. But he was clearly seen as a way to steal potential votes from Biden.’

Republican leaders used Kanye West’s unsuccessful 2020 presidential bid as an opportunity to stealthily syphon votes from Joe Biden, a new report claims

West's campaign team intentionally concealed its connections to conservative operatives in a move that might have breached federal election laws

West’s campaign team intentionally concealed its connections to conservative operatives in a move that might have breached federal election laws

Republican Jill Vogel, managing partner of law firm Hotzman Vogel, worked on West’s campaign – despite him running as an independent, court documents obtained by the Daily Beast revealed.

The Republican lawmaker advised the campaign beginning in summer 2020 and was ‘basically behind it all’ despite her name not appearing on Federal Election Committee (FEC) filings, a source told the outlet.

Hotzman Vogel managing partner Jill Vogel

Hotzman Vogel managing partner Jill Vogel

However, West’s FEC filings disclose payments to neither her nor the firm.

Libowitz said it’s possible Vogel might have sought to fly under-the-radar to spare herself from ‘any embarrassment that may come with being publicly affiliated with the train wreck that was the Kanye campaign.’

He added: ‘It’s also likely that she did not want people to know that a Republican operative was behind his campaign.’

It’s not a crime for lawyers to volunteer their service to for political purposes, but campaigns are obliged to report the amount value of the in-kind service and disclose the person’s identity.

Court documents showed that Vogel used her professional email in correspondence related to West’s campaign.

Common Cause vice president Paul S. Ryan said that if Holtzman Vogel’s involvement in the campaign was extensive and not disclosed in the FEC filings, it could be considered an illegal contribution.

‘The importance of disclosure in this matter can’t be overstated,’ Ryan told The Daily Beast. ‘It’s no secret that Kanye West’s candidacy would have a spoiler effect, siphoning votes from Democrat Joe Biden. 

‘Voters had a right to know that a high-powered Republican lawyer was providing legal services to Kanye – and federal law requires disclosure of such legal work.’

Pictured: West appears emotional as he holds his first rally in support of his failed presidential bid in North Charleston, South Carolina on July 19, 2020

Pictured: West appears emotional as he holds his first rally in support of his failed presidential bid in North Charleston, South Carolina on July 19, 2020

FEC filings show West's campaign paid $20,000 to GSP Inc., which is believed to be an acronym for Grand Slam Finance

FEC filings show West’s campaign paid $20,000 to GSP Inc., which is believed to be an acronym for Grand Slam Finance

West's campaign garnered less than $4,000 in donations and was largely funded by loans from the rapper

West’s campaign garnered less than $4,000 in donations and was largely funded by loans from the rapper

Questions were also raised about West’s campaign using an acronym in an apparent attempt to downplay its involvement with Grand Slam Finance, which it referred to as ‘GSF’ in campaign filings.

The Austin, Texas-based company has been hired on other occasions to help Republican campaigns, and West’s team paid the firm about $692,000 for ‘compliance’ and ‘accounting,’ the Daily Beast reported. 

Legal documents reviewed by the outlet confirmed that Grand Slam Finance worked extensively with Kanye’s campaign.

Ryan labeled the disclosures as ‘strange’ and said it was unusual for a consultant to be ‘suddenly banking way more than it previously has for services, all from one campaign.’ 

West’s music manager John Boyd denied that musician was used as a Republican pawn but noted that he didn’t have complete control over the campaign. 

‘He had companies, individuals working for him, I don’t even know if he knew what they were doing that deeply. That’s my personal view,’ Boyd told the Daily Beast. ‘There were definitely agendas out there that perhaps he didn’t have full control over.’

West’s campaign garnered less than $4,000 in donations and was largely funded by loans from the rapper himself. About 60,000 people voted for him during the presidential election that drew nearly 160 million  voters. 

But critics said it’s unlikely that the campaign’s Republican ties was a coincidence. 

‘You’re not just going to trip and find your way into these Republican circles,’ Libowitz said. ‘BakerHostetler works for the Republican National Committee,’ he said, referencing a New York firm which Kanye 2020 paid $152,000 a full mo

West’s publicists did not respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment, nor did Vogel. 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk