Diamond and Silk have made a name for themselves in the pro-Trump community as some of his most outspoken supporters. But they may now have a perjury problem.
On Thursday, the two conservative commentators — also known as Lynnette Hardaway (Diamond) and Rochelle Richardson (Silk) — appeared before a House panel after being invited by House Republicans to answer questions about social media platforms’ alleged bias against conservatives. However, the two women dug themselves into a legal hole in the midst of an exchange with Reps. Sheila Jackson-Lee (d-Texas) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York).
“We have never been paid by the Trump campaign,” Hardaway told Rep. Lee.
However, that statement is false when analyzing Federal Election Commission records from 2016. One filing shows a disbursement on November 22, 2016 (after Trump won the election) shows a payment of $1,274.94 to Diamond and Silk for “field consulting” in Raeford, North Carolina, where the two women are based.
The Hill’s Will Sommer transcribed the exchange between Diamond and Silk and Rep. Jeffries on his Twitter account, in which Jeffries explained to the Fox News commentators that FEC records show that they were indeed paid by the Trump campaign.
“We are familiar with that particular lie,” Richardson told Jeffries. “We can see that you do fall for fake news.”
Diamond and Silk address the FEC filing suggesting they were paid by Trump campaign: “We are familiar with that particular lie. We can see that you do fall for fake news."
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) April 26, 2018
Hardaway and Richardson both pushed back against Jeffries’ assertion that they had lied under oath, saying the payment was a means of reimbursing airfare costs. However, the fact still stands that the two women received money from the Trump campaign, and lied while answering a direct question about whether or not money was exchanged.
A document from the Congressional Research Service details the various legal definitions and penalties of perjury, which is defined as “a crime committed when a lawful oath is administered, in some judicial proceeding, to a person who swears wilfully[sic], absolutely and falsely, in a matter material to the issue or point in question.” Because Diamond and Silk swore an oath (a “lawful oath”) before a House panel (“some judicial proceeding”), a prosecutor could argue their false statement constitutes perjury.
Hardaway and Richardson were initially in Washington to talk about their belief that Facebook censored their content due to political bias. House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) kicked off the hearing by attacking Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for not coming to the hearing.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.