Trump's inaugural committee is under investigation yet again. This time, it's the Washington, D.C., attorney general that would like to know what happened with all that money.
While the nation was watching Michael Cohen detail the extent of Trump's crimes, the D.C. attorney general was dropping subpoenas on President Trump's inaugural committee. If that sounds familiar, it's because D.C. is the third governmental body looking into the shady dealings that underpinned Trump's inauguration.
First, it was federal prosecutors in Manhattan who decided to take a look at the committee. Better still, one of the reasons they began looking at the inauguration was because of Michael Cohen. When the FBI raided Cohen's office, they found a recording of Cohen discussing the inaugural committee, which is part of what led to the criminal investigation.
Next, New Jersey stepped in, with the state attorney general's office issuing a civil subpoena. New Jersey wants some of the same things the prosecutors in New York want, such as information about times where donors made payments directly to vendors. But this subpoena went further, asking for tax forms, contracts, ledgers, and any documents related to benefits that were provided to donors. Unlike the New York investigation, which is a criminal matter, this is a civil one and could only lead to a civil lawsuit.
D.C is taking a different approach. There, the attorney general is looking into how much the inaugural committee paid to other Trump interests such as the Trump International Hotel or the Trump Organization. Given that news already broke late last year that the inaugural committee paid well above market rate for space at the Trump hotel, it's about time this gets examined.
And Ivanka is directly implicated in that overpayment. Inaugural committee planners warned her that her father's hotel was overcharging the committee and that this could be a problem when the committee was audited.
Gregg Jenkins, who planned George W. Bush's second inauguration, said that Trump's inauguration was planned by "a third of the staff" Jenkins used, raised "at least twice as much" as Jenkins did, and held only "a quarter of the events" Bush had.
All that excess cash had to go somewhere, and it's looking a lot like it went to the Trump Organization in some way. With three sets of investigations into the matter, Trump and his family should be very worried.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.