Report: Trump's Inauguration Spending Under Criminal Investigation

December 14, 2018 - 3:29 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — Federal prosecutors are reportedly investigating the finances of President Donald Trump's inaugural committee and whether foreigners made illegal contributions to its events.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that prosecutors are investigating whether some donors made contributions in exchange for political favors.

The newspaper says prosecutors are also examining whether the committee misspent some of the $107 million it raised for inaugural celebrations.

The New York Times reports prosecutors are examining whether people from Middle Eastern countries made illegal payments to the committee and a pro-Trump political action committee.

Both newspapers cited anonymous sources familiar with the inquiry.

Furthermore, New York Law School professor of criminal law and ethics Rebecca Roiphe says it's significant to note that the Inaugural Committee’s former deputy chairman is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the investigation.

“That is incredibly important, where there are cooperating witnesses there are indictments, so you know, it’s kind of stunning this broad and ranging investigation and all of the spin offs, just how many people are cooperating with various different authorities,” she told WBCS 880.

Rophie explains that if donors gave money in exchange for political favors that would be a violation of federal corruption laws, and having the former deputy chairman’s cooperation could help connect the dots.

“Having a person who can explain the information, tie it together and also give more information is really what makes criminal cases,” she noted.

The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan didn't comment Friday.

The inaugural committee says it is not aware of any investigations.

A White House spokesman says the president isn't involved.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)