donations for favours probe expand

donations for favours probe expand

Federal prosecutors in New York issued a subpoena Monday seeking documents from Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, furthering a federal inquiry into a fund that has faced mounting scrutiny into how it raised and spent its money.

Inaugural committee spokeswoman Kristin Celauro told The Associated Press that the committee had received the subpoena and was still reviewing it.

“It is our intention to co-operate with the inquiry,” she said.
A second spokesman, Owen Blicksilver, declined to answer questions about which documents prosecutors requested.

The US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, which issued the subpoena, declined to comment.

The investigation is the latest in a series of criminal inquiries into President Trump’s campaign and presidency.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation.

In a separate case in New York, prosecutors say Trump directed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women as a way to quash potential sex scandals during the campaign.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a copy of the subpoena, reported that prosecutors asked for “all documents” related to the committee’s donors and vendors, as well as records relating to “benefits” donors received after making contributions.

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The newspaper reported late last year that federal prosecutors are investigating whether committee donors made contributions in exchange for political favours — a potential violation of federal corruption laws.

It said the inquiry also was focused on whether the inauguration misspent the US$107 million (AU$148 million) it raised to stage events celebrating Trump’s inauguration.

The subpoena also requested documents relating to donations “made by or on behalf of foreign nationals, including but not limited to any communications regarding or relating to the possibility of donations by foreign nationals,” the Journal reported.

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The New York Times reported late last year that federal prosecutors are examining whether anyone from Qatar, Saudi Arabia or other Middle Eastern countries made illegal payments to the committee and a pro-Trump super political action committee.

Foreign contributions to inaugural funds and PACs are prohibited under federal law.

The head of the inaugural committee, Tom Barrack, confirmed to The Associated Press that he was questioned by Mueller in 2017.

He said he was not a target of the Mueller investigation.


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