How big are Donald Trump's bumps
Such an inauguration is not cheap. The new US President's oath and speech at the Capitol are not enough. If a pandemic does not destroy such ideas, large and small concerts, festive balls and countless receptions for thousands of guests from all over the world are also part of it.
Because the state only pays the bare minimum for an inauguration, it has long been the practice for newly elected presidents to set up an inauguration committee. That plans and organizes the celebrations. Most importantly, it collects donations and pays the bills.
In 2017, when Donald Trump's name had not yet been encumbered with two impeachment proceedings and suspected coup attempts, the donors did nothing. $ 106.7 million was raised for the celebrations. Twice as much as former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush each collected on their inaugurations. And probably more than such a committee can usefully spend.
It was a well-filled cash register. So well filled that the Washington prosecutor assumes that the Trump family reached deeply and illegally, as Washington's chief prosecutor Karl Racine believes he can prove. She brought charges in January 2020. No judgment has yet been made, but new details keep coming to light.
$ 175,000 for the ballroom, $ 300,000 for catering at the Trump International Hotel
Just a few days ago, Racine broadened the indictment. The committee is said to have paid a hotel bill for nearly $ 50,000 for the Trump Organization. A friend of Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. is said to have booked rooms for inauguration guests at the Loews Madison Hotel on behalf of the Trump Organization, the family company.
The hotel transferred the bill to a debt collection company in the summer of 2017 because the Trump Organization ignored all requests for payment. The debt collection company then kindly asked the Trump Committee whether they might not want to pay the bill. The request landed on the desk of Trump friend Rick Gates, former Trump campaign manager and then vice chairman of the committee. Gates then decided that the committee would do the math. He was later sentenced to prison for his involvement in the Russia affair.
The Washington lawsuit is primarily about financial obligations to the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, which runs from the White House to Congress. Of course, it's in a very convenient location, and such a luxurious home is never cheap. However, the committee hadn't shied away from renting the hotel's ballroom for $ 175,000 a day. And to pay another $ 300,000 for in-house catering.
The committee paid another $ 300,000 for a reception at the Trump Hotel in honor of the presidential children Ivanka, Donald Junior and Eric Trump. In the same hotel, whose parent organization are currently run by these three Trump children. From the point of view of the accusers, who suspect usury, the Trump Hotel is said to have overcharged the Trump Committee by at least one million dollars.
In December, Ivanka Trump had to be heard under oath on this allegation that the hotel had let the committee pay usurious prices. In a tweet she announced after her questioning that the investigation was a "politically motivated demonstration of vengeance and a waste of taxpayers' money". The hotel only demanded "market prices".
For prosecutor Racine, however, the matter is clear: The law requires that a non-profit organization may not use its funds to "enrich private individuals or companies". But that is exactly what happened.
There are more inconsistencies. In 2018, the committee's first tax assessment became public. After that there were some notable expense items. About $ 2.7 million went to a company owned by Brad Parscale for "digital operations". He was in charge of Trump's re-election campaign until Trump disempowered him for failure. Parscale later attracted attention with a video showing his arrest for domestic violence.
The agency of a friend of the first lady received $ 26 million
About 26 million dollars went to an event agency headed by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. She also received $ 1.62 million for unspecified advisory services. Winston Wolkoff was still considered a good friend of Melania Trump at the time and worked for the First Lady in the White House after taking office. Should a loyal friend be made rich?
When the sums became public, Melania Trump fired Winston Wolkoff. She later retaliated with a book about the "rise and fall" of her friendship with Melania Trump. And she willingly gave debunking audio recordings to the press that confirmed some prejudices about Melania Trump.
Prosecutor Racine wants the Trump Organization to pay at least one million dollars to nonprofits in compensation. However, it is still unclear whether and when a court hearing will take place.
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