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Make America Grift Again

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This would be the biggest scandal in all but about two previous presidencies, but it wouldn’t even break the top ten of the Trump administration’s greatest grifting hits:

Federal prosecutors in New York are circling Donald Trump’s inaugural committee as part of a wide-ranging investigation into possible money laundering, illegal contributions and cash-for-access schemes. Now, WNYC and ProPublica have identified evidence of potential tax law violations by the committee.

A spokesman confirmed that the nonprofit 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee paid the Trump International Hotel a rate of $175,000 per day for event space — in spite of internal objections at the time that the rate was far too high. If the committee is deemed by auditors or prosecutors to have paid an above-market rate, that could violate tax laws prohibiting self-dealing, according to experts.

Tax law prohibits nonprofits from paying inflated prices to entities that are owned by people who also control or influence the nonprofit’s activities. . . .

The committee paid a total of $700,000 to the Trump International Hotel for event spaces for four days in January 2017. At the time, a consultant working for the inaugural committee expressed her concern over email that the price quoted by the Trump hotel — $175,000 per day for several event spaces — was too high, as ProPublica and WNYC reported in December.

“Please take into consideration that when this is audited it will become public knowledge,” wrote Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, an experienced New York-based event planner, suggesting a fair rate for the event spaces would be at most $85,000 per day, less than half of what was ultimately paid. That fee did not cover catering.

All of those massively excessive charges went straight into Trump’s pocket.  He’s a straight-up criminal but nobody cares, except maybe Robert Mueller and the SDNY (we shall see).

Speaking of which, Justin Fairfax has been accused by another woman of rape.  She apparently told several friends at the time of the incident in 2000, when both were undergraduates, so unless the GOP has a time machine you can pretty much forget about that theory.

There are days when I’m in the mood to join John Bonham for happy hour.

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