(Getty/Drew Angerer)

Prosecutors in New York examining tens of thousands of Trump Inaugural Committee documents: report

Authorities are probing whether the $107 million the committee raised was misspent, or came from foreign donors


Shira Tarlo
May 20, 2019 9:35PM (UTC)

Federal prosecutors in New York are examining tens of thousands of documents related to President Donald Trump's Inaugural Committee, CNN reported Monday.

The committee finished turning over the cache of documents this month, according to the news outlet, suggesting that the investigation into the committee's business dealings has moved into a new phase.

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Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York issued the committee a sweeping subpoena in February, demanding documents, records and communications related to the committee's finances, vendors and donors.

Authorities are investigating whether the $107 million in donations the committee raised was "misspent, used to improperly benefit certain individuals or came from foreign donors in violation of campaign finance laws that prohibit foreign money in U.S. elections," CNN noted.

Manhattan prosecutors have already secured testimony from inaugural planner Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, an associate of first lady Melania Trump, whose party planning firm received $25.8 million from the committee as a vendor. Wolkoff received a grand jury subpoena in October 2018 in connection with the investigation.

Sam Patten, a GOP political operative, pleaded guilty in August 2018 to funnelling $50,000 to the committee through a straw donor in exchange for inauguration tickets for his Ukrainian clients. Patten was sentenced to three years of probation without jail time last month after a federal judge lauded him for his "substantial assistance" in numerous ongoing federal investigations that grew out of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The investigation in New York is not the only one involving the Inaugural Committee. Prosecutors in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. have opened their own inquiries and issued subpoenas for records of any payments made by donors to contractors and vendors who worked for the committee. They are reportedly looking into whether the committee violated the rules that govern nonprofits.


Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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