Trump inaugural committee sued for misusing $1 million in charitable funds


The lawsuit is the latest blow to Trump's inaugural committee, which is under federal investigation for accepting foreign money, a violation of campaign finance law.

The attorney general of the District of Columbia sued Donald Trump's inaugural committee on Wednesday, claiming the committee spent $1 million on a ballroom and catering at Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel in violation of its nonprofit status, the Washington Post reported.

In the lawsuit, Karl A. Racine wrote that the committee "violated District law when it wasted approximately $1 million of charitable funds in overpayment for the use of event space at the Trump hotel." D.C. law prohibits nonprofit organizations from making profits for private individuals — in this case, Trump, who owns the D.C. hotel, where the committee spent the money.

Racine said that the inaugural committee spent $175,000 per day on the ballroom — which Racine said the committee barely used — and more than $300,000 in food and beverage, even though the committee's own event planner objected to the cost being above market value. Emails from December 2018 show that first daughter Ivanka Trump allegedly knew the committee was being overcharged for the space.

"These charges were unreasonable and improperly served to enrich" Trump's business, Racine wrote in the complaint.

This is just the latest trouble for Trump's inaugural committee, which as of last May was under federal investigation for multiple alleged infractions. The committee is accused both of accepting contributions from foreign individuals in violation of federal campaign finance law and promising policy concessions or access to major inauguration donors.

Congress is also probing why a close friend of first lady Melania Trump earned $1.6 million from working for the committee.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.