Democratic group complains Trump funding presidential campaign illegally

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Florence Regional Airport in Florence, South Carolina, U.S., March 12, 2022. REUTERS/Randall Hill/File Photo

WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - One of the biggest Democratic Party fundraising groups on Monday said it filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing Donald Trump of breaking campaign finance law by spending political donations on a 2024 U.S. presidential bid he has yet to formally launch.

The complaint by the American Bridge group says Trump's Save America fund is promoting him as if he were a candidate.

As a leadership committee, the Save America fund can pay for such political activities as Trump's travel, hotel stays and contributions to political allies. But by law Trump's leadership committee is not allowed to fund his own election campaigns.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich called the American Bridge complaint "frivolous" and said it had "zero merit."

It was unclear whether the Federal Election Commission will do anything to hinder Trump's use of his Save America fund. The commission leadership includes three Republicans, two Democrats and an independent. It often deadlocks on contentious issues.

A spokesperson for the FEC said it cannot comment on a complaint until the matter is resolved or closed.

The Republican Trump launched his Save America fund days after losing the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.

The group, which is a leading Republican fundraising organization with more than $100 million in the bank, has paid for rallies where Trump appears with candidates he has endorsed but also regularly hints at the possibility of running again.

"In 2024 we are going to take back that beautiful White House. I wonder who will do that. I wonder, I wonder," Trump said at a South Carolina rally on Saturday.

Reporting by Jason Lange in Washington, additional reporting by Alexandra Ulmer in San Francisco; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.