Arlen Specter’s Son Claims Trump Tried to Quash Spygate Probe

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 28: Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The son of former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter claims that Donald Trump attempted to offer the Sen. money to slow down the 2008 NFL “Spygate” investigation on behalf of his friend Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots.

In 2008 Specter, then a Republican, was investigating the claim that the New England Patriots had engaged in signal stealing and possibly other forms of cheating. Several years ago, the son of one of Specter’s aides claimed that the Sen., who died in 2012, told his father that a very rich and very public person had tried to convince Specter to drop the investigation and that this person did so claiming to be a supporter of Robert Kraft.

But now, Sen. Specter’s son, Shanin Specter, is saying that the aforementioned rich person who was trying to intercede on behalf of Robert Kraft was none other than Donald Trump, ESPN reports.

“My father told me that Trump was acting as a messenger for Kraft,” Shanin Specter said. “But I’m equally sure the reference to money in Palm Beach was campaign contributions, not cash. The offer was Kraft assistance with campaign contributions. My father said it was Kraft’s offer, not someone else’s.”

“He was pissed,” the man added. “He told me about the call in the wake of the conversation and his anger about it. My father was upset when [such overtures] would happen because he felt as if it were tantamount to a bribe solicitation, though the case law on this subject says it isn’t. He would tell me these things when they occurred. We were very close.”

Trump’s supposed offer was not exactly a bribe, granted. Politicians routinely dole out political favors for campaign contributions. And quid pro quo donations are notoriously difficult to prove.

Regardless, Trump’s spokesman, Jason Miller insisted that the whole story is “completely false.” A Patriots spokesman said that Robert Kraft “never asked” Trump to speak to Specter on Kraft’s behalf and that Kraft “is not aware of any involvement of Trump on this topic and he did not have any other engagement with Specter or his staff.”

To further cast doubt on the claim, Federal Election Commission records don’t show any campaign donations from Kraft to Specter or his election committees. ESPN also pointed out that Specter personally asked Kraft to donate to his reelection campaign in 2010. Though, it appears that no donation was made.

Trump, though, was a consistent donor to Specter’s campaigns for much of the latter half of Specter’s career, and this donation behavior did not change during the years in question.

Arlen Specter ran as a Democrat from 1951 to 1965, then switched to the Republican Party and served in that capacity from 1965 to 2009. Though, he switched again in 2009, this time back to the Democrats with whom he identified until his death in 2012.

By many accounts, Specter was a bulldog on the “Spygate” issue because he felt the Patriots cheated his favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles, out of a Super Bowl win in 2005.

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