Trump's Inaugural Chair Investigated for Corruption

A Federal Grand Jury in New York is investigating Elliott Broidy, a Republican fundraiser and vice chair of Trump’s inaugural committee, over his business deals with other countries, AP reported on Monday.

US President Donald Trump at his inauguration (White House)US President Donald Trump at his inauguration (White House)A subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn obtained by the agency is seeking records of Broidy’s investment and defense contracting firms and the officials he dealt with, including Angola’s sitting president and Romanian politicians.

The investigation seems to hinge on whether Broidy offered access to Trump or his inauguration to secure lucrative deals, which would violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Broidy’s attorneys told AP that he never exchanged money or made a contract with “any Romanian government agency, proxy or agent,” and that his dealings with Angola in 2016 were unrelated to his position as inaugural vice chair, saying that “any implication to the contrary is completely false.”

Manhattan federal prosecutors have also opened an investigation into the inaugural proceedings, but seem to be focused on the record-setting US$107 million raised for the event instead of the role of Broidy’s foreign dealings.

Last year Senator and now Democratic Presidential Primary candidate Elizabeth Warren asked the Justice Department to investigate Broidy’s interests, which Warren referenced in a tweet rejoicing in the investigation report.

Broidy, 61, made his money initially through investments, and later moved on to defense contracting and GOP fundraising. In 2009 he pleaded guilty to a felony that was later reduced to a misdemeanor for his almost $1 million in gifts to New York state pension fund officials who returned the favor by giving Broidy’s firm $250 million of pension fund money to manage. 

Broidy also stepped down from his role as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee after it was revealed that he paid $1.7 million in hush money to a former Playboy model with whom he had an affair - a payment facilitated by Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen.

The subpoenas name some of those referenced in emails related to Broidy’s business dealings leaked to news agencies last year. Broidy maintains that some of the hacked emails were doctored, but they seem to imply that he offered inaugural invitations to two Angolan officials in exchange for multi-million dollar contracts with his defense firm Circinus.