WSJ: Trump Inaugural Officials Sparred With Vendors Over Exorbitant Pricing

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February 21, 2019 10:18 a.m.
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Federal prosecutors are investigating interactions between vendors and officials at President Trump’s inaugural committee, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Officials at the committee reportedly pushed back against top vendor Hargrove Inc., which purportedly submitted a budget that used “wildly different pricing” from previous inaugurals.

The newspaper also reports that after the Trump D.C. hotel asked for $3.6 million for eight days of catering and space rental, an unnamed inaugural official forwarded the request to other committee members.

“Ummm…” the official reportedly wrote.

Other elements of the inaugural – which took in a record $107 million haul – have attracted interest.

Prosecutors are investigating whether or not inaugural vendors took payments off the books for services provided to the committee, according to news reports.

The WSJ story sheds more light on a phone call between Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and inaugural vendor Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, whose company WIS Media Partners was paid $25 million by the committee. A recording of the call was found by federal prosecutors during an April 2018 raid of Cohen’s office, sparking the investigation.

The WSJ reports that Wolkoff expressed concerns on the recording regarding Hargrove, deputy inaugural chair Rick Gates, and the committee’s chairman Tom Barrack.

Manhattan federal prosecutors subpoenaed the committee this month for information regarding the inaugural’s spending, and whether foreign nationals had given money in contravention of federal campaign finance laws.

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