The ongoing investigation into President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee has recently focused on a $1 million donation from one of the nation’s most notoriously prolific political donors.
Real estate mogul Franklin Haney made the substantial donation to the committee while simultaneously seeking public funding and government regulatory approval in his bid to purchase the defunct Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama, according to a Monday report from the Associated Press.
Federal prosecutors in New York began looking into the Trump Inaugural Committee back in February, investigating whether committee donors violated federal corruption laws by making financial contributions in exchange for political favors.
The committee was subpoenaed by prosecutors requesting “all documents” pertaining to the committee’s donors and vendors, and any possible “benefits” received by donors following their contributions, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Months into their probe, investigators are now reportedly honing in on Haney, particularly after Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen provided prosecutors with a great deal of information relating to Haney, his son and business partner Frank Haney Jr., and the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant project.
Following Trump’s election, Haney hired Cohen to raise money for the power plant project from a wide array of potential investors, including the foreign nation of Qatar. Subsequently, prosecutors are also exploring possible unlawful contributions to the committee from foreign nationals and haver requested all documents pertaining to donations “made by or on behalf of foreign nationals, including but not limited to any communications regarding or relating to the possibility of donations by foreign nationals.”
This is not the first time Haney has been accused of making political contributions in order to gain favorable business treatment. House Republicans accused Haney of unlawfully working with senior aides in former President Bill Clinton‘s administration to have the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) move its office into one of Haney’s buildings in 1998.
Haney was later charged with illegally contributing approximately $100,000 to multiple politicians–including Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore–before ultimately being acquitted.
The Trump Inauguration Committee has denied any wrongdoing; Haney and his attorney did not respond to AP requests for comment.
[Image via NBC screengrab]