Ivanka Trump questioned over inauguration funds ‘misuse’

USA Topics

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka has been questioned under oath over claims that not-for-profit funds were misused at Mr Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

A lawsuit launched by District of Columbia (DC) Attorney General Karl Racine alleges that Mr Trump’s real estate business and other entities misused the funds to enrich the Trumps.

Mr Trump’s Washington hotel is alleged to have been “grossly overpaid”.

Ivanka Trump has denounced the case as “politically motivated”.

In a tweet she shared a screengrab purported to be of an email in which she suggested the hotel be paid a “fair market rate”.

“This ‘inquiry’ is another politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness and waste of taxpayer dollars,” she said.

The White House has not yet commented.

However, the inaugural committee has said its finances were independently audited and none of the money was spent unlawfully.

What are the allegations?

The lawsuit alleges that a tax-exempt non-profit organisation called the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee worked with the Trump family to overpay for event space at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

In one case, the lawsuit alleges, the non-profit organisation paid more than $300,000 (£222,000) for a private reception at the Trump International Hotel for Mr Trump’s three eldest children, Donald Jnr, Ivanka and Eric.

The event took place on the evening of 20 January 2017, the day of Mr Trump’s inauguration.

Earlier this year, Mr Racine said: “District law requires non-profits to use their funds for their stated public purpose, not to benefit private individuals or companies.”

His lawsuit is seeking to recover more than $1m in alleged improper payments made to the Trump International Hotel during the week of the inauguration.

Mr Racine’s office has subpoenaed records from people including Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Thomas Barrack Jnr, a friend of Mr Trump’s and the chairman of the inaugural committee, according to the Washington Post newspaper.

How has Ivanka responded?

She tweeted that she had spent more than five hours being interviewed at the office of Mr Racine, a Democrat who became DC attorney general in 2015.

She said lawyers had asked her about the rates charged by the Trump International Hotel for events at the inauguration – and said she had shared the email in which she directs the hotel to charge a “fair market rate” with them.

Ivanka Trump has been working as a senior adviser to President Trump, as has her husband Jared Kushner.

What are the rules around inauguration funds?

Inauguration committees are appointed by the president-elect to be in charge of the inaugural ceremony and related events and activities.

The committee can accept unlimited donations, including from companies. All donations have to be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Mr Trump’s inaugural committee raised $107m – the biggest ever, according to FEC filings.

Richard Gates – who was one of several Trump associates convicted in relation to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election – was the inaugural committee’s deputy chairman.


Read from source