3 Dec 2020

Ivanka Trump questioned for lawsuit over use of 2017 inauguration funds

3:23 pm on 3 December 2020

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, has been questioned under oath as part of a civil lawsuit alleging misuse of nonprofit funds for Donald Trump's inauguration four years ago.

WILMINGTON, USA - SEPTEMBER 14: Daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump attends a “fireside chat”, which was moderated by Trump 2020 National Press Secretary Hogan Gidley,

Ivanka Trump attended a reception at a Trump hotel on the night her father was inaugurated. The event is part of a civil lawsuit being brought by the District of Columbia. Photo: AFP

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine's office disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday that the deposition had taken place that day.

In a January 2020 lawsuit, Racine claimed Donald Trump's real estate business and other entities misused nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family.

According to the suit, a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation called the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee coordinated with the Trump family to grossly overpay for event space in the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Tiffany Trump,  Barron Trump, Vanessa Trump, Ivanka Trump and Melania Trump at the  inauguration ceremony.

The Trump family at the inauguration in Washington in January 2017. Photo: AFP

Racine's lawsuit alleged that in one case, the nonprofit paid more than $US300,000 ($NZ424,000) to hold a private reception at the Trump hotel for the president's three oldest children - Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric - on the inauguration evening of 20 January, 2017.

"District law requires nonprofits to use their funds for their stated public purpose, not to benefit private individuals or companies," Racine said this year.

His lawsuit seeks to recover the $US1 million that was allegedly funnelled directly to the Trump family business.

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The inaugural committee said its finances were independently audited, and all money was spent lawfully.

Although campaign finance laws restrict the size of campaign contributions, inauguration committees can accept unlimited donations, including from corporations. The $107 million raised by Trump's inaugural committee, chaired by real estate developer and investor Thomas Barrack, was the largest in history, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Former Trump campaign aide Richard Gates served as deputy chairman of the inaugural committee.

Gates was one of several Trump associates convicted in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

- Reuters

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