Katie Porter files DOJ criminal referral detailing evidence of alleged Trump admin bribery scheme

Porter and Rep. Raul Grijalva say the Trump administration intervened to help a developer that donated over $240K

By Meaghan Ellis

Published May 13, 2022 12:00PM (EDT)

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., is raising awareness about former President Donald Trump's latest financial debacle: a newly uncovered bribery scheme.

On Wednesday, May 11, Porter appeared on MSNBC News where she offered details about the latest developments involving former Trump Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, and real estate developer, Mike Ingram.

Bernhardt and Ingram reportedly had an off-the-record meeting that is believed to have led to a form of quid pro quo. According to Porter, three major occurrences happened shortly after that meeting. The Army Corp. of Engineers reportedly announced they were reopening the permit process for an area in Arizona that was previously deemed environmentally sensitive.

Around the same time, Ingram and a dozen of his business acquaintances donated nearly $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund and to the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Shortly after the donation was made, a top-ranking Fish and Wildlife official received a call where he was told that a "high-level Politico" wanted him to "reverse his decision that this development would harm the environment.

The Democratic lawmaker also made it clear that this appears to be a quid pro quo because the real estate developer and his friends received a kickback after donating to the former president's "Victory Fund." "This developer was basically able to buy his away around environmental protection law," Porter emphasized.

Porter also tweeted details about the scheme. "New from [Rep. Raul Grijalva] and me: After a real estate developer and his friends made $241,600 in campaign donations, the Trump Administration overruled local environmental experts to greenlight a development near an endangered river," she tweeted. "We're making a criminal referral for bribery."

Porter's remarks on MSNBC came as the House Natural Resources Committee filed a criminal complaint against the U.S. Department of Justice. Porter made it clear that this type of "egregious" situation should indicate to Congress that "reestablishing the rule of law and the expectation that administration officials are going to follow it."


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