New evidence of possible tax-law violations by President Trump’s inaugural committee has emerged, Pro Publica reported on Friday. The committee is already being circled by federal prosecutors in New York for potential money laundering, illegal contributions, and cash-for-access schemes.
According to Pro Publica, the committee potentially paid a far-above-market rate for event space at the Trump International Hotel. A committee spokesman confirmed that the nonprofit 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee paid the Trump International Hotel a rate of $175,000 per day for the space. If the committee is deemed to have paid an above-market rate, that could violate tax laws, according to experts. Tax law prohibits nonprofits from paying inflated prices to groups that are owned by people who also influence the nonprofit’s activities.
“Every legitimate nonprofit is very concerned with this,” said Doug White, a veteran adviser to tax exempt organizations, speaking generally. “You’re benefiting a private person, and you’re using the nonprofit to do it.” Trump’s inaugural committee spent more than $100 million—almost twice the amount spent on the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009, the next-most expensive inaugural party.