Federal prosecutors in New York on Monday delivered a sweeping request for documents related to donations and spending by President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, a sign of a deepening criminal investigation.
A wide-ranging subpoena served on the inaugural committee Monday seeks an array of documents, including all information related to inaugural donors, vendors, contractors, bank accounts of the inaugural committee and any information related to foreign contributors to the committee, according to a copy reviewed by The Washington Post.
Only U.S. citizens and legal residents can legally donate to a committee established to finance presidential inaugural festivities.
“We have just received a subpoena for documents,” a spokesman for the committee said. “While we are still reviewing the subpoena, it is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry.”
The subpoena also specifically seeks all communications with one donor, Los Angeles venture capitalist Imaad Zuberi, as well as the firm with which he is affiliated, Avenue Ventures. The company donated $900,000 to the inaugural committee, records show.
Zuberi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s inaugural committee raised a record $107 million to fund events and parties surrounding his assumption of office in January 2017, more than twice the amount raised to fund President Barack Obama’s inaugural in 2009.
Contributions were made by a wide array of corporate interests and wealthy Trump supporters, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
The committee was chaired by real estate developer Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of Trump. Barrack is not mentioned by name in the subpoena.
The request for documents, which was first reported by ABC News, is a sign of another widening legal headache for Trump, whose business, personal charitable foundation and campaign are under investigation by state and federal authorities.
The document indicates that prosecutors are investigating crimes related to conspiracy to defraud the United States, mail fraud, false statements, wire fraud and money laundering.
The subpoena seeks information related to broad topics, including information about benefits provided to top donors, training documents for fundraisers, and information related to any payments made directly by donors to vendors.
Zuberi’s inaugural donations were a quick turnaround for a financier who had been a major Democratic giver.
Documents released by WikiLeaks in October 2016 show that Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta met with Zuberi in September 2015 to thank him for his support of Clinton. The document showed that he had raised more than $200,000 for Clinton’s campaign that year. The internal Podesta memo is part of a cache of documents that prosecutors have said were stolen by Russian operatives and provided to WikiLeaks to publish in an effort to help elect Trump.
The document indicated that Zuberi was a “Hillblazer,” a nickname for Clinton’s prolific fundraisers. He had also served as a National Finance Committee member for Obama for America and raised $1.2 million to help elect Obama, the memo indicated.
Zuberi could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
The subpoena was issued by prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, rather than special counsel Robert Mueller. People familiar with Mueller’s investigation have said his prosecutors have explored the possibility that foreign money helped fund Trump’s inaugural festivities.
However, it is not clear whether his office has pursued the matter or transferred it to other prosecutors to explore further. In August, prosecutors in Washington charged lobbyist Sam Patten, who would plead guilty to acting as an unregistered federal agent for a Ukrainian political party. As part of a plea deal, Patten acknowledged that he steered an illegal foreign donation to Trump’s inaugural committee, using an American straw donor.
Rosalind S. Helderman and Michael Kranish write for the Washington Post.