Ivanka Trump questioned as part of inauguration fund lawsuit

Trump says inquiry is ‘politically motivated’ after being questioned over alleged misuse of funds.

White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump speaks during a campaign event for United States President Donald Trump in Dallas, North Carolina, the US on October 1, 2020 [Al Drago/Reuters]

Ivanka Trump has been deposed by attorneys alleging that United States President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration committee misused donor funds, a new court filing reveals.

The document, first reported by CNN Wednesday, notes that Ivanka Trump, the president’s oldest daughter and a senior White House adviser, was interviewed on Tuesday by attorneys from the Washington, DC attorney general’s office.

The office has filed a lawsuit alleging waste of the non-profit committee’s funds, accusing it of making more than $1m in improper payments to the president’s Washington DC, hotel during the week of the inauguration in 2017.

As part of the suit, the attorney general’s office has subpoenaed records from Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Thomas Barrack Jr, a close friend of the president who chaired the inaugural committee, and others. Barrack was also deposed last month.

In a tweet on Thursday, Ivanka Trump said she had spent more than five hours at the “Democratic” DC attorney general’s office and claimed the inquiry was “politically motivated”.

She said she told the hotel in an email to use “a fair market rate”.

Trump’s inaugural committee spent more than $1m to book a ballroom at the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital as part of a scheme to “grossly overpay” for party space and enrich the president’s own family in the process, DC Attorney General Karl Racine alleges.

Racine has accused the committee of misusing non-profit funds and coordinating with the hotel’s management and members of the Trump family to arrange the events.

“District law requires non-profits to use their funds for their stated public purpose, not to benefit private individuals or companies,” Racine has said. “In this case, we are seeking to recover the non-profit funds that were improperly funnelled directly to the Trump family business.”

The committee raised an unprecedented $107m to host events celebrating Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, but its spending has drawn continued scrutiny.

In a statement, Alan Garten of the Trump Organization said “Ms. Trump’s only involvement was connecting the parties and instructing the hotel to charge a ‘fair market rate,’ which the hotel did.”

Trump has faced a number of financial controversies through the course of his presidency, including the leak of his tax records, which revealed large levels of debt and a bank account in China, a frequent target of the president’s heated rhetoric.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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