Trump adviser Jason Miller signed a "secret deal" to hide his $500,000 income at a Washington PR firm in a child support case, claiming in court that he couldn't pay up because he had lost his job, according to records obtained by The Guardian.
The confidential records from Teneo, the firm that employed Miller, corroborates previous reporting from Salon's Roger Sollenberger that Miller hid his income at Teneo and elsewhere in a bitter child support dispute with former Trump campaign aide A.J. Delgado stemming from an extramarital affair they had in 2016. Salon reported last year that Teneo had publicly severed ties with Miller, who continues to serve as Trump's spokesman, but continued to pay him through an LLC even as Miller claimed in court filings that he could not make the court-ordered payments because he was unemployed. The Trump campaign paid Miller through a similar arrangement after Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner personally signed off on the deal. This allowed Miller to reduce his child support payments to just $500 per month, even as he reported an income of as much as $99,000 per month.
Records reviewed by The Guardian confirmed that Miller's departure from the company was a "sham." The same day that he signed a formal "separation agreement and general release" in June 2019, he signed a new contract with the firm to serve as a consultant paid through a "hastily formed LLC" at the same $500,000 base compensation he had previously earned as the company's managing editor.
The move allowed the firm, which largely works with Democrats, to hide Miller's involvement after he posted a series of profane attacks against House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., while the company sought to build inroads with the Trump administration. It also allowed Miller to claim in Florida court documents that he was unemployed as he sought to "abate and modify" his child support payments.
Miller repeatedly made false statements under oath, according to the records, claiming that he could no longer travel to Florida to attend hearings in the case and asking for postponements citing a "major financial setback." But Miller did not miss a "single paycheck" from Teneo, and even got an additional $90,000 in severance pay despite starting his new position the following day, according to the report.
"When my employee/employer relationship with Teneo was severed, I faced the loss of … income due to lost bonuses and benefits," Miller said in a statement to The Guardian. "This financial setback greatly reduced my income."
He denied that he had misled the court, arguing that he paid "over $100,000 in total temporary child support, which supports the entire household, even though I am not required to support his mother."
"I take my parental responsibilities seriously," he told the outlet.
But records show that three days after signing the contract with Teneo to continue receiving $500,000 annually, he claimed in a sworn statement that he had a "substantial change in financial circumstances."
"Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have read the foregoing verified motion to abate and modify temporary child support and the facts stated in it are true," the statement said.
In July 2019, he filed another sworn statement claiming he "does not have the financial ability to meet [his] child support".
Miller repeatedly cited newspaper reports citing his alleged split from Teneo as evidence of his financial situation.
"The petitioner's unemployment is public knowledge," he wrote in one filing.
Salon previously reported that Miller likewise concealed his income he was paid by the Trump campaign. Miller did not receive direct payments from the campaign, despite serving as its most visible aide, but Trump's 2020 campaign instead paid tens of thousands to Jamestown Associates, a New Jersey media company that lists Miller as an executive and partner. He also hid income earned from nonprofit founded by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. Miller received about $20,000 per month from Citizens of the American Republic, which was linked to an alleged money laundering scheme, where Miller co-hosted a podcast with Bannon.
Miller also received payments from a consulting firm co-founded by former White House official Justin Clark and former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien.
The Trump campaign payments raised red flags. Brendan Fischer, director of the Federal Reform Program at the Campaign Legal Center, told Salon last year that these revelations showed that the Trump campaign had "disguised millions of dollars in payments to personnel and vendors by routing the money through LLCs created or managed by senior Trump campaign officials."
The CLC filed a Federal Election Commission complaint last year accusing the campaign of illegally hiding at least $170 million in payments through shell companies, including payments to Trump daughter-in-law Lara Trump and Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle.
"This scheme is illegal," Fischer told Salon, describing the reported payments as "a well-orchestrated scheme designed to undermine laws and transparency requirements."