The Manhattan Prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into the funding conditions for the inauguration of President Donald Trump. It is reported by the Wall Street Journal, citing sources.
$ 107 million were spent for the ceremony— this amount was a record in US history. In February 2018, it became known that at least a quarter of these funds were transferred to WIS Media Partners. This firm is headed by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who WSJ called a close friend of the first lady Melania Trump.
The investigation launched by the Prosecutor’s office is related to the materials that were obtained during the investigation against ex-lawyer of Donald Trump Michael Cohen. During the searches, the FBI found a recording of the conversation between Cohen and Walkoff. On this record, the WSJ claims, you can hear Wolkoff expressing concern over the expenses of the inaugural Committee. In addition, investigators questioned the Manager of the election headquarters of Trump Richard Gates. He was Deputy head of the inaugural Committee. Gates, along with Paul Manafort, the former head of the election headquarters of Trump, is already under investigation on charges of illegal lobbying and tax concealment.
Investigators are exploring the possibility that the inaugural Committee received funding in exchange for certain political services from the administration to the sponsors — concessions on certain issues or influence on political figures. In addition, the financing of the inauguration by non-profit organizations may be a violation of the law.
The inaugural Committee, in accordance with the law, has publicly disclosed only the five largest sponsors of the ceremony. Thus, we know about the source of $ 61 million. But where did the other funds come from, the White house announced.
On December 12, the court sentenced the former Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen to three years imprisonment. He was found guilty of violating financing rules of election campaign and giving false testimony to Congress.