Ivanka Trump deposed in suit involving inaugural committee's alleged misuse of funds
Ivanka Trump was deposed in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the possible abuse of inaugural funds, according to a court filing.
Why it matters: The Washington, D.C. attorney general’s office sued the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) in January, alleging the committee misused over $1 million in payments to the Trump hotel in D.C. for event space during the president’s 2017 inauguration. Those funds “flowed directly to the Trump family,” the lawsuit claims.
What's new: Ivanka Trump confirmed that she was deposed in a tweet Thursday.
- "This week I spent 5+ hours in a deposition with the Democrat D.C. AG's office where they questioned the rates changed by the Trump Hotel at the inauguration. I shared with them an email from 4 years ago where I sent instructions to the hotel to charge "a fair market rate" (See below) which the hotel then did," she wrote.
- "This 'inquiry' is another politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness & waste of taxpayer dollars."
The big picture: Multiple people warned the Trump family about the possible impropriety of holding events at the president’s own hotel.
- In December 2016, former inaugural committee deputy chair Rick Gates told Ivanka Trump that he was “a bit worried about the optics” of such transactions.
- Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a contractor and event planner for the PIC, was also concerned that the committee was “vastly overpaying” for the hotel, per the filing.
- The costs — $175,000 daily for four days of event space — were at least twice the market rate, according to Wolkoff.
- Though she shared these concerns with Donald and Ivanka Trump, as well as Gates, they moved ahead with the payments.
Context: Ivanka Trump is one of many witnesses in this investigation.
- Tom Barrack, chair of the inaugural committee, was questioned on Nov. 17, the court filing states.
- Wolkoff is expected for a deposition next week.
- The attorney general’s office has also subpoenaed records from Barrack, Ivanka Trump, Gates and the first lady.
What to watch: It's unclear what will come of this lawsuit, but it adds to ongoing criticism of the Trump White House's relationship with the president's business endeavors.
This post has been updated with a comment from Ivanka Trump.