On Monday, prosecutors with the Southern District of New York (SDNY) opened up a new front in the investigation of criminal acts by the Trump 2016 campaign and the president himself, sending a sweeping subpoena to the Trump inaugural committee that includes charges of money laundering and fraud. The subpoena reads like something that would normally be served on a mafia boss.
But there was especially bad news in that subpoena for Ivanka Trump, who currently works as a White House adviser and is reportedly daddy’s favorite child.
ProPublica has learned that one of the main points of interest for SDNY prosecutors is the rate charged by Trump properties for renting space for the inaugural:
“A spokesman confirmed that the nonprofit 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee paid the Trump International Hotel a rate of $175,000 per day for event space — in spite of internal objections at the time that the rate was far too high. If the committee is deemed by auditors or prosecutors to have paid an above-market rate, that could violate tax laws prohibiting self-dealing, according to experts.”
Who negotiated the contracts and set the rates with the inaugural committee? None other than Ivanka Trump, as ProPublica first reported back in December:
“During the planning, Ivanka Trump, the president-elect’s eldest daughter and a senior executive with the Trump Organization, was involved in negotiating the price the hotel charged the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee for venue rentals.”
That kind of inside dealing is also referred to as skimming.
Brett Kappel, an attorney at Akerman LLP who advises nonprofits, noted that it appears tax laws were violated by Ivanka Trump and others inside the inaugural committee:
“Tax law bars nonprofits such as the inaugural committee from insider deals that would unduly benefit people — in this case the Trump family — that have influence over the nonprofit, Kappel said. In legal parlance, these are known as excess benefit transactions. A key question would be whether the Trump hotel charged the inaugural committee above-market rates, which could violate tax rules, Kappel said. If an IRS audit found such a civil violation, the inaugural committee would have to pay taxes on the amount of money it overpaid.
“It could become a criminal violation, Kappel said, if investigators uncover evidence that people knew that charging above-market rates to enrich the Trump Organization was illegal and did it anyway.”
It appears that Ivanka’s willingness to help her father engage in grifting on a massive scale now has her at the center of a scandal that could well lead to her being charged with tax violations and financial fraud.
No wonder Ivanka’s always been daddy’s favorite — She’s just as crooked as he is.