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New York subpoenas Trump Organization records on consulting fees paid to Ivanka

Ivanka Trump and President Trump on the South Lawn of the White House
Ivanka Trump and President Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in 2017.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

New York’s attorney general has sent a subpoena to the Trump Organization for records related to consulting fees paid to Ivanka Trump in the latest step in a broad civil investigation into President Trump’s business dealings, a law enforcement official said.

The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that a similar subpoena was sent to the president’s company by the Manhattan district attorney, which is conducting a parallel criminal investigation.

The Associated Press could not immediately independently confirm the district attorney’s subpoena, but the one sent by New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James was described by an official briefed on the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday.

The records requests followed a recent report in the New York Times, based partly on two decades’ worth of Trump’s tax filings, that the president had reduced his company’s income tax liability over several years by deducting $26 million in consulting fees as a business expense.

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Records strongly suggested that $747,622 of those fees had been paid to Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, through a company she owned at a time when she was also a Trump Organization executive, the newspaper report said.

If true, that wouldn’t necessarily pose a problem for Ivanka Trump herself, as long as she paid income tax on the consulting payments, which she reported publicly.

It could, however, raise questions about whether the Trump Organization’s related tax deductions were allowable. The Internal Revenue Service has in the past pursued civil penalties over large consulting fee write-offs it found were made to dodge tax liability.

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The New York Times said there was no indication that Ivanka Trump is a target of either the state’s or the city’s investigation.

“This is harassment pure and simple,” she said on Twitter late Thursday. “This ‘inquiry’ by NYC democrats is 100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage. They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless.”

The Trump Organization’s lawyer, Alan Garten, and its media relations office didn’t immediately return messages Thursday.

Reports that President Trump skirted paying taxes confirms what America already suspected, and makes ongoing investigations all the more important.

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James and Manhattan Dist. Atty. Cyrus Vance Jr., both Democrats, are each conducting wide-ranging inquiries into Trump’s business affairs.

Both investigations are at least partly related to allegations, made in news reports and by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, that Trump had a history of inflating the value of some assets to impress banks and business partners but lowering that value when seeking tax benefits.

Vance has been involved in a long court battle seeking access to Trump’s tax filings as part of the investigation.


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