A source had stated that President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee is currently being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York for financial abuses that relate to more than $100 million in donations that were raised for his inauguration.
The wall street journal reported that prosecutors were investigating whether the inauguration committee’s donors were seeking to gain influence or access the new administration. “Giving money in exchange for political favors” is illegal and is considered as misuse of donated funds.
The New York Times reported Thursday night that federal prosecutors are looking into whether people from foreign countries funneled potentially illegal donations to both the inaugural fund and a pro-Trump super PAC in efforts to buy “influence over American policy.” The paper, citing people familiar with the inquiry, said it focuses on people from Middle Eastern countries — including Qatar and Saudi Arabia — and whether they “used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds.” According to Federal Law foreign contributions to inaugural funds or PACs are not allowed.
In a statement, Trump’s inaugural committee said the celebration was “in full compliance with all applicable laws.”
“The (committee) is not aware of any pending investigations and has not been contacted by any prosecutors. We simply have no evidence the investigation exists,” the statement read.
“The (committee’s) finances were fully audited internally and independently and are fully accounted. Moreover, the inauguration’s accounting was provided both to the Federal Election Commission and the IRS in compliance with all laws and regulations. These were funds raised from private individuals and were then spent in accordance with the law and the expectations of the donors. The names of donors were provided to the FEC and have been public for nearly two years and those donors were vetted in accordance with the law and no improprieties have been found regarding the vetting of those donors.”
When asked by reporters about the Wall Street Journal story Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “That doesn’t have anything to do with the President or the first lady. The biggest thing the President did, his engagement in the inauguration, was to come here and raise his hand and take the oath of office. The President was focused on the transition at that time and not on any of the planning for the inauguration.”
According to the Washington Journal, sources told the paper that the investigation “partly arises out of materials seized in the federal probe of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s business dealings.”
Michael Cohen was recently arrested for _______ and last spring during a raid of Chen’s properties a conversation that was recorded between him and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to first lady Melania Trump, reflected Wolkoff’s concern about how the inaugural committee was spending money.
Tom Barrack is a real estate developer who ran the inaugural committee, had an interview he had with the special counsel last year. During his conversation with Mueller, the inaugural fund was only raised briefly, the source said.
Rick Gates, Trump’s former campaign aide who has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, was asked by prosecutors about the committee’s spending and its donors, the Journal reported, citing conversations with people close to the matter.
“The inaugural committee hasn’t been asked for records or been contacted by prosecutors. We are not aware of any investigation,” a source told CNN.
The committee had raised a record-setting $107 million and received most of the funding from wealthy donors who gave $1 million or more, according to the Journal. Some of the fund’s top donors, including billionaire Sheldon Adelson, AT&T Inc. (parent company of CNN) and Boeing Co. though both companies aren’t under investigation