Hope you’re enjoying your Trump Corruption Advent calendar. Sometimes I wish they’d space the scandals out a bit more so I can really savor each one. I like Christmas cookies and Trump legal peril as much as anyone, but I can’t gorge on them like this nonstop without getting a headache.
Yesterday we found out that Trump’s inauguration spending is being investigated because, well, you’re not supposed to exchange inauguration donations for political favors or solicit funds from foreigners in exchange for access or influence. Also, you’re not supposed to divert inaugural funds for “other purposes.”
Could one of those “other purposes” be lining your own pockets?
I would assume so.
ProPublica has another bombshell today (which brings me to wonder — has Trump retreated to his bunker yet?):
During the planning, Ivanka Trump, the president-elect’s eldest daughter and a senior executive with the Trump Organization, was involved in negotiating the price the hotel charged the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee for venue rentals. A top inaugural planner emailed Ivanka and others at the company to “express my concern” that the hotel was overcharging for its event spaces, worrying of what would happen “when this is audited.”
The reason this is so believable is because it’s Trump. Of course he used donations solicited for his inauguration to enrich himself. And of course he overcharged the inaugural committee. And of course his daughter was complicit in this scheme. It’s what Trumps do.
Turns out Ivanka is just a slightly more polished turd than the rest of them.
If the Trump hotel charged more than the going rate for the venues, it could violate tax law. The inaugural committee’s payments to the Trump Organization and Ivanka Trump’s role have not been previously reported or disclosed in public filings.
“The fact that the inaugural committee did business with the Trump Organization raises huge ethical questions about the potential for undue enrichment,” said Marcus Owens, the former head of the division of the Internal Revenue Service that oversees nonprofits.
The inaugural planner mentioned above is Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a Melania crony who mysteriously slapped together an event planning company six weeks before the inauguration and eventually walked away with a king’s ransom.
But even with such a sketchy background, she still seems to have more sense than Ivanka when it comes to not doing corrupt-as-hell shit:
“I wanted to follow up on our conversation and express my concern,” Wolkoff wrote in the December email.
“These events are in PE’s [the president-elect’s] honor at his hotel and one of them is for family and close friends. Please take into consideration that when this is audited it will become public knowledge,” she wrote, noting that other locations would be provided to the inaugural committee for free.
“I understand that compared to the original pricing this is great but we should look at the whole context,” Wolkoff wrote, suggesting a day rate of $85,000, less than half of the Trump hotel’s offer.
Oh, and then there’s this bit about Rick Gates, who — let me check my Trump squealer logbook — has flipped!
Rick Gates, then the deputy to the chairman of the inaugural, asked some vendors to take payments directly from donors, rather than through the committee, according to two people with direct knowledge. The vendors felt the request was unusual and concerning, according to these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they signed confidentiality agreements. It is not clear whether any vendors took him up on his request.
This is getting — what’s the word? — fun.
But only because the worst person in the world seems due for his comeuppance, and he’s dragging a drawer full of silver spoons down with him.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.