On Monday, federal prosecutors demanded officials involved with President Donald Trump’s inauguration to hand over an assortment of financial documents as part of an ongoing investigation. Investigators are attempting to determine whether there was an illegal activity regarding donations to the committee, and how said funds were used. This investigation is also seeking to determine whether or not any of those donations came from Russia, which could have major implications not only for committee members but for the Trump administration as a whole.
According to the New York Times, the subpoena is aimed at documents that focus on guests and donors to the inauguration committee. Investigators are also looking for information on benefits, contracts, federal disclosure filings, and vendors. Benefits could include photo opportunities with Trump, as well as tickets to exclusive events.
The investigation began late last year when the machinations of the inaugural committee came to the attention of federal officials. Originally part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether or not Russian forces influenced the 2016 election, the attention on the inaugural committee has dramatically expanded over time as more and more evidence comes to light.
The team looking into the committee is particularly interested in donors, specifically, those from overseas, as it is against the law to accept donations from foreign sources for inaugural funds. But prosecutors suspect that at least some of the $107 million the committee pulled in for the inauguration may come from questionable sources, and they’re determined to find out where.
Besides potential election fraud, prosecutors are reportedly investigating allegations of money laundering committed by the inaugural committee. They are also attempting to determine whether or not the inaugural committee made false statements to the Federal Election Committee regarding finances by omitting or altering the official list of donors and the amounts they gave to Trump.
Committee officials have stated that they are reviewing the subpoena closely, and are eager to cooperate with federal prosecutors. No members of the committee, or their employees, have been directly accused of committing any crimes at this point, and are simply being investigated to determine if any wrongdoing took place.
But this isn’t the only investigation the Trump inaugural committee has to contend with. It is also being investigated by the United States attorney’s office, which is seeking to uncover whether members of the committee helped channel funds illegally from foreign countries. This investigation is based largely on testimony from Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer. Cohen has pleaded guilty to multiple crimes, including campaign finance fraud, and is working with authorities on the ongoing Mueller investigation.