Federal Prosecutors Reportedly Investigating How Trump's Inaugural Committee Spent Its Windfall

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The more than $100 million raised for Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration is facing a fresh round of scrutiny from investigators, according to a Thursday report from Wall Street Journal.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York are reportedly investigating whether Trump’s inaugural committee, which was run by real estate developer and horrible businessman Thomas Barrack, traded access or influence to top donors. The office is also investigating whether or not the committee misspent some of the record-breaking amount of money it raised.

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The investigation, which was described by the Journal as being in its early stages, reportedly partially stems from the April raid of former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. On Wednesday, Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison for crimes including tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions.

Citing “a lawyer close to the matter,” the Journal said the inaugural committee hasn’t been subpoenaed for records or even contacted by investigators. “We are not aware of any evidence the investigation the Journal is reporting actually exists,” the lawyer said.

The Journal, however, reported investigators have already begun contacting some donors whose contributions are in question:

Manhattan federal prosecutors in recent months asked Tennessee developer Franklin L. Haney for documents related to a $1 million donation he made to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee in December 2016, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Haney in early April hired Mr. Cohen, at the time serving as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, to help obtain a $5 billion loan from the Energy Department for a nuclear-power project, the Journal has previously reported. Mr. Haney was asked for documents related to his correspondence with members of the committee, meeting calendars and paperwork for the donation, the person said. A loan application by Mr. Haney’s company is still pending at the Energy Department.

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You might remember Haney from another Journal report earlier this summer that he agreed to pay Cohen $10 million if he successfully helped secure funding to finish a pair of nuclear reactors in Alabama. Neither the White House, Cohen’s lawyers, or Haney’s lawyers responded to the Journal’s requests for comment.

The $107 million raised for the committee more than doubled the previous record raised by Barack Obama’s first inaugural committee in 2009, according to the paper, but the Trump inaugural committee has only publicly identified where $61 million of the $103 million it spent went. A February report by the New York Times found nearly $26 million was spent with an event planning firm started by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a friend and adviser to First Lady Melania Trump.

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Just your daily dose of Trump nepotism and corruption.

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