On Thursday, a report from the Wall Street Journal revealed that federal prosecutors are criminally investigating the money trail from Donald Trump’s inauguration. That report was focused primarily on where the donations came from and where they went. Now we’re learning that Ivanka Trump was at the center of that scandal – and it’s ugly.
WNYC and ProPublica reported Friday that that President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee spent millions on hotel rooms and meals at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC and also rented space there at rates negotiated by Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, WNYC and ProPublica reported Friday.
Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating the committee for possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations it raised.
Inauguration organizers held events at the Trump International, then newly opened in a federally owned property just blocks from the White House.
At one point, the Inaugural committee organizers complained that Ivanka Trump was attempting to charge $175,000 per day for use of a ballroom, which is more than $100,000 over the standard rate, according to internal communications.
It’s not clear how much the inauguration committee ultimately paid.
Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump’s ethics lawyer, told WNYC that she delegated the negotiations with the inaugural committee to “a hotel official” and directed they be conducted at a “fair market rate.”
The New York Times also reported Thursday night that federal prosecutors are looking into whether people from foreign countries — specifically Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — funneled potentially illegal donations via surrogate donors to both the inaugural fund in efforts to buy “influence over American policy.”
A Trump Organization spokeswoman did not respond to a Political Dig’s request for comment on the report.