Trump Inauguration: When The Money Keeps Rolling In, You Don't Ask HOW
How many live investigations are there of the Trump inauguration fuckery funtimes? Couple few!
- Manhattan US Attorney's Office, aka SDNY: They got the ball rolling after seizing Michael Cohen's tapes and finding a recording of the head party planner worrying about the Trump Hotels gouging on the room rentals;
- Brooklyn US Attorney's Office, aka EDNY: These guys are wondering if illegal foreign donors used strawmen to funnel cash to the inauguration. More on that in a hot second;
- Special Counsel's Office: Having already indicted and gotten a plea from Manafort's associate Sam Patten for acting as a straw purchaser to buy inauguration tickets for Ukrainian billionaire Pavel Fuchs, Mr. Mueller would like to know why there were so many other shady Ukrainians at the inauguration festivities;
- House Judiciary Committee: Chairman Nadler has questions for the Inaugural Committee, Tom Barrack, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen about the inauguration;
- New Jersey Attorney General: Gurbir Grewal is making Trump's people an offer they can't refuse to hand over financial documents; and
- DC Attorney General: Karl Racine would like an accounting of money paid by the inaugural committee to Trump hotels and the Trump Organization.
For any of these investigators looking into foreign entities using straw purchasers to illegally donate money to the Trump inaugural gravy train, The Guardian is here to help:
The Guardian has identified the creators of three obscure firms that contributed money to Trump's inaugural committee, which collected a record $107m as he entered the White House in 2017.
The three companies each gave $25,000 to Trump's inaugural fund. At least one of the contributions was made for a foreign national who appears ineligible to make political donations in the US.
You mean Trump's billionaire BFF Tom Barrack, who ran the inauguration out of his offices at Colony Capital while developing plans to monetize his connection to Trump for his international businesses, allowed foreign donors to intrude on the sacred domestic ritual of showering cash on the incoming president? And Paul Manafort's buddy Laurance Gay, who was still collecting $35,000 a month from the Trump electoral PAC while he ran ticketing for the inauguration, was less than fastidious about vetting donors? Shit, next you'll tell us that pro-wrasslin' is FIXED!
The Guardian confirms that at least one foreign national, Indian real estate magnate Cyrus Vandrevala, contributed $25,000 to the campaign and then attended inaugural events.
Vandrevala, 46, has an Indian passport and declares his nationality as Indian, according to business records obtained from authorities in Delhi. A source familiar with his arrangements said he did not hold US citizenship or a "green card".
The contribution appears to have paid for two VIP tickets to Trump's inauguration. He and his wife, Priya, attended the event in Washington and also enjoyed a "private breakfast" with Trump, according to an article in the UK's Asian Lite newspaper, which was written by a veteran Indian reporter who knows the Vandrevalas.
Another British-Asian newspaper, Eastern Eye, reported Vandrevala was "friendly with Trump's daughter Ivanka".
Mr. and Mrs. Vandrevala's tickets were purchased by Sierra Vista, a Delaware LLC that shares a mailing address in Wayne, Pennsylvania, with their US investment firm Intrepid Capital Partners. So obviously, this whole thing is an honest mistake!
Similarly, Taiwanese lobbyist David Sean lives in Southern California, but happened to contribute $25,000 to the Trump inauguration through a recently incorporated LLC in Georgia. Sean claims to be a US citizen, who contributed out of the goodness of his own big heart. However his wife told Guardian reporters a slightly different story, suggesting that her husband may not be the ultimate source of the donated funds.
But Sean's wife, Joann, said in a brief telephone interview in late January that Sean created Jan Castle for three Chinese investors. Sean later denied his wife had said this. The company's original filing to Georgia identified someone named Jianning He as its "organizer", but gave only the same mailbox address as contact information.
Happy coincidence, Sean's daughter got a White House internship the following year. But Sean has a very good explanation for everything. And it is:
My company objective is to take back stolen trillion dollar from communist China and put into manufacturing sector in United States. And I will work hard to achieve this mission objective til the day I am perished from the earth.
The final case flagged by The Guardian involves an Israeli real estate developer, Elon Lebouvich, who claims to have a green card, making him eligible to contribute. Mr. Lebouvich, who "has served as a representative for a family of wealthy Moroccan investors in US legal disputes," declined to say whom he attended the inaugural festivities with, and failed to explain why he made the donation through a shell company.
Well, Robert Mueller will get to the bottom of all this. Or Jerry Nadler. Or SDNY. Have at it fellas!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.