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Trump inaugural committee subpoenaed by DC attorney general



The attorney general for the District of Columbia subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee on Wednesday for documents amid increased attention paid to the committee possibly engaging in illegal activity.

The request, first reported by The New York Times, makes the DC attorney general’s office the third prosecutorial authority to subpoena or launch an investigation into the committee.

The Trump inaugural committee raised a record $107 million to fund inaugural balls and other events, but has since come under scrutiny for alleged improper spending of some of its donations, allegedly using straw donors to allow foreign nationals to purchase tickets illegally, and allegedly using the inauguration to broker access to the administration for top donors.

In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York were launching the beginning stages of a criminal investigation into the committee, reportedly basing the probe off documents seized in an April 2018 FBI raid of the office of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer.

Read more:Michael Cohen emerges as a valuable asset as prosecutors open a criminal probe into Trump’s inauguration spending

Earlier this month, the New Jersey attorney general’s office subpoenaed the committee for financial records related to the committee’s fundraisers in New Jersey, and “all documents related to any benefits provided to donors,” the Associated Press reported.

The DC subpoena appears to be focused on determining whether the committee engaged in self-dealing transactions with the Trump Organization’s real estate holdings, the Times report said. The inaugural committee paid around $1.5 million to the Trump International Hotel to host an inaugural event.

The mounting interest in the inaugural committee comes as Karl Racine, the DC attorney general, and Maryland attorney general Brian Frosh are in the discovery phase of a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses of the constitution, which prohibits elected officials from personally profiting off their office.

The suit, which is the first-ever emoluments case to go to trial, accuses Trump of illegally making money off his presidency by soliciting business from state and foreign government officials at Trump-owned hotels and restaurants.

And on December 18, Trump agreed to dissolve his charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, after a lawsuit from the New York Attorney General’s office alleged “persistently illegal conduct,” including allegations of unlawful coordination with the 2016 Trump campaign as well as multiple self-dealing transactions with the Trump Organization.

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