Donald J. Trump paid his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski $20,000 in August for “strategy consulting,” two months after Mr. Lewandowski left the team and was hired by CNN as a commentator.
The payment, revealed in Federal Election Commission filings on Tuesday, was the second monthly consulting fee paid to Mr. Lewandowski through his consulting company since he left the Trump campaign and joined CNN, raising questions about whether the network in effect has a Trump campaign strategist on its payroll.
Mr. Lewandowski still speaks with Mr. Trump regularly. Reached by phone, Mr. Lewandowski said he could not comment owing to his contractual obligations with CNN.
But Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said that payments were actually severance payments owed to Mr. Lewandowski under his old contract with Mr. Trump’s campaign.
“Corey Lewandowski, who is no longer involved in the campaign, continues to receive monthly severance payments,” Mr. Cheung said. “The campaign will continue to honor its contract with Mr. Lewandowski, which stipulates he will be paid through the end of the year. These payments are in no way compensation for services rendered.”
But on F.E.C. paperwork, the campaign listed both the August and July payments as “strategy consulting.” Mr. Cheung did not respond to a follow-up email inquiring about why the payments were not described as severance to the F.E.C.
In July, when Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor, took over as interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, the network suspended her contract.
A CNN spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.