The Attorney General, Karl A. Racine (D), has summoned documents from the inaugural committee of President Trump, the latest of several requests from federal and state authorities seeking to find out how the money had been collected and spent for the January 2017 gala.
The subpoena, issued Tuesday, requests documents related to committee payments to the Trump Organization or Trump International Hotel, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the case. He states that Racine searches for documents under his civil authority to ensure that non-profit groups in the District are not "private, unnecessary, mismanaged or poorly provided profits".
Racine's summons was first reported by the New York Times.
According to law enforcement officials, the convening of the inaugural committee was scheduled for March 29 at the latest. If the committee does not respect this deadline, the Racine office could take legal action to obtain the documents.
A spokesperson for the inaugural committee stated that the committee had received the subpoena and was in contact with the Racine staff.
Robert Marus, a spokesman for Racine, declined to comment.
Root has been one of the world's most aggressive advocates against the Trump administration. In June 2017, he and the Attorney General of Maryland, Brian E. Frosh brought a lawsuit alleging that the president's permanent attachments to his company violated the anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution.
The president's inaugural committee was struck by numerous requests for documents from federal prosecutors in New York and the Attorney General's Office in New Jersey. Root is the third request for documents this month.
The committee, which raised and spent more than $ 100 million on inaugural events – more than double the amount raised for President Barack Obama's inaugural events in 2009 – was led by property developer Tom Barrack Jr., a friend of long time the president. The documents filed by the Federal Electoral Commission show that the contributions came from many companies and rich supporters of Trump.
The US Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York said in its subpoena that prosecutors were investigating crimes related to a conspiracy to defraud the United States, postal fraud, misrepresentation, wire fraud and money laundering.
New York attorneys seem to be interested, among others, in foreign contributors to the inaugural committee. The investigation by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal appears to be about fundraising activities in New Jersey.
Racine's subpoena suggests that his investigation takes another path: to check whether the inaugural committee has violated the nonprofit regulation by enriching the president's business interests.
This investigation is civil, not criminal. The Attorney General has limited powers to prosecute crimes in the district, where crime cases are handled by the US Attorney's Office.
However, the DC statutes give Racine the general power to seek sanctions from non-profit organizations that violate the regulations of DC or act in defiance of their purpose, up to the dissolution of these groups.