WSJ: Federal prosecutors open criminal probe into Trump inaugural fund spending

Credit: Pool

Credit: Pool

Federal prosecutors in New York have opened a criminal probe into whether President Donald Trump's inaugural committee misspent some of the $107 million raised for his 2017 inauguration and related events, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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The investigation started after authorities conducted raids on former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's home and business last April, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the case.

Prosecutors are also trying to determine whether the inaugural fund's top donors traded money for "access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions," according to the newspaper.

The WSJ reported that taking money in exchange for political favors may be a violation of federal corruption laws and that diverting funds from the committee, which is part of the probe, might also violate federal law.

A source close to the situation told the WSJ that prosecutors have not contacted the inaugural committee or asked for records yet.

"We are not aware of any evidence the investigation the Journal is reporting actually exists," the source said.

The inaugural committee, which was registered as a nonprofit organization, has publicly accounted for $61 million of the $103 million it spent, according to the Journal, but it hasn't disclosed expense details, according to tax filings. As a nonprofit, it's required to publicly identify its top five vendors.

Explore>> Related: Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison, Trump responds on Twitter

Neither the White House nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan responded to requests for comment.

Meantime, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to several charges, including multiple tax evasion charges and arranging payments to women who posed a risk to Trump's presidential campaign.

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