Who could’ve ever guessed New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft getting arrested for soliciting prostitution would lead to the FBI investigating whether the Chinese have been funneling money to the Trump re-election campaign? But, here we are.
To recap, after Kraft was arrested, the Miami Herald noted the spa’s founder, Cindy Yang, was a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago and had been photographed with Donald Trump at the private club on several occasions. She used these photos to prove she had access to the president and others could as well, for a price. The grift began from the moment Donald Trump took office. Yang hosted an event at Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., and those funds have never been accounted for to this day. From The Palm Beach Post:
But there’s no trace of the money raised that night, as required by law, The Palm Beach Post has found.
That includes donations by their biggest listed sponsors. Among them: an embattled Saipan-based casino later raided by the FBI, a Guam-based shipyard and a handful of Pacific Island hotel operators, all of which benefited from a foreign labor bill signed into law by Trump a year later.
Yang pivoted out of the spa business and into the influence business, also known as the business of corruption. Taking money, promising access … and getting access through events at Donald Trump’s private club, Mar-a-Lago. Not just to Donald Trump, Yang peddled access to his children, cabinet members and other influential deplorables hanging around the scene. This is precisely what national security experts repeatedly sounded the alarm about when Trump announced he would still be a frequent guest at his private club. The Trump Organization even doubled the club fee after he won. It’s shockingly blatant corruption.
But who was buying access from Yang? The FBI is now taking a look. From the Miami Herald:
Investigators obtained a federal grand jury subpoena Tuesday seeking records from Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa business who last year contributed a maximum $5,400 to President Donald Trump’s re-election effort, according to a source familiar with the probe. Yang came to Peranio’s workplace and helped her write the check, Peranio told reporters from The New York Times, who first reported the contribution. Peranio told The Times she didn’t “say no.”
The subpoena asked for any records related to that March 5, 2018, donation and possibly other contributions between 2014 and the present, said the source, who asked for anonymity to discuss an ongoing federal investigation.
Does a spa employee donating the maximum to a presidential re-election committee sound suspicious? The FBI is investigating whether that employee was reimbursed.
FBI agents based in West Palm Beach are trying to determine if Yang reimbursed Peranio for that contribution or delivered “anything of value” to her over that period to benefit the Trump campaign. Reimbursing someone for a political contribution without disclosing the original source is illegal, as is making a contribution in someone else’s name.
Agents are seeking records from Peranio, a potential witness in the investigation, that are linked to Yang, Yang’s husband, their businesses, as well as Trump campaign entities and the Republican National Committee.
“… as well as Trump campaign entities and the Republican National Committee.” Sounds like this investigation is just getting started and may widen significantly.
It is absolutely shocking this story isn’t front page headlines in every major newspaper in this country. These allegations and investigations would sink any other president before Trump. Today, it’s barely moving the news needle. Just one more data point showing how far we’ve strayed from normative behavior and press coverage.