First Daughter Ivanka Trump was forced to answer some tough questions about allegations that her father’s 2017 inauguration committee misappropriated donated funds for President Trump’s own financial benefit during a deposition on Tuesday. At the same time a new scandal is brewing over how both Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner and President Trump accepted a $3.65 million government loan intended for small businesses, NBC News reports.
The deposition was held as part of an investigation stemming from charges made in January by the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office claiming that in 2017 the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) misused more than $1 million of its funding. A civil suit brought by local authorities over the matter centers on claims that the committee willfully paid exorbitant fees to the President’s own Trump International Hotel.
Accusations have abounded for the last four years that President Trump has funneled government funds to businesses which he himself owns. This was done by giving business to Trump properties when the President traveled outside of Washington, such as hotels, at higher rates then could have been had at open market prices. Many describe this as a violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. constitution which prohibits the President from receiving additional payments or remunerations of any kind while in office.
The Washington D.C. case, however, deals specifically with the charge that money donated to a non-profit was misused by deliberating allowing a business owned by President Trump to overbill the PIV.
So how does this involve Ivanka Trump? She was a part of PIC and there are e mails showing that she was involved in the decisions made over where and how to spend its money. But for her part Ivanka Trump maintains that whether or not the actions alleged are proved and do constitute a crime is irrelevant as she herself was not directly involved in the suspect activities.
Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump organization said in a statement, “Ms. Trump’s only involvement was connecting the parties and instructing the hotel to charge a ‘fair market rate,’ which the hotel did.”
District of Columbia’s attorney general Karl Racine said of the matter, “District law requires nonprofits to use their funds for their stated public purpose, not to benefit private individuals or companies, In this case, we are seeking to recover the nonprofit funds that were improperly funneled directly to the Trump family business.”
The important thing here to remember right now is that this is a local investigation and not a Federal one. With all the talk about Donald Trump pardoning his children preemptively it must be remembered that he can only do so for Federal crimes.
As for Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, he and Donald Trump are both looking at an entirely new corruption accusation. NBC News has shown that businesses owned by the two benefited from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), receiving $3.65 million. The program offers government loans to help people hurting due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The loans are forgiven under certain conditions such as using the money to pay for rent. Checks were directed to people who rent homes at Kushner and Trump owned properties.
Among the questionable uses of tax payer money, NBC found that 25 PPP loans worth more than $3.65 million were given to businesses with addresses at Trump and Kushner real estate properties. The loans to businesses located at Trump and Kushner properties included a $2,164,543 loan to the Triomphe Restaurant Corp., at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City. The company reported the money didn’t go to keeping any jobs. It later closed.
A company called LB City Inc., which is located at Kushner’s Bungalow Hotel in Long Branch, New Jersey, received a loan for $505,552.50 that it used to keep 155 jobs.
Once President Trump leaves office there will probably be many more revelations such as these as he will no longer be able to personally prevent Federal agencies from revealing what they know. When this happens the public will surely wish to know why, if Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and the President himself were all such successful and rich business people and even billionaires, did they need to chase after such small amounts of money so frequently.