Trump inauguration fundraisers under investigation by New Jersey for possible fraud

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New Jersey’s attorney general is investigating an effort to raise money for President Donald Trump’s inauguration involving two current U.S. ambassadors.

Republican donor Lewis Eisenberg and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson led efforts in the state to raise money for Trump’s inauguration that resulted in only a few hundred thousand dollars out of the record $107 million haul, reported The Daily Beast.

Trump nominated Eiseberg as ambassador to Italy, while Johnson was named British ambassador.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal obtained documents last month from the Presidential Inaugural Committee as part of an investigation of possibly illegal actions by solicitors, donors and fundraisers.

A similar investigation is underway in New York, where Trump allies raised $19 million for the January 2017 inauguration, and Grewal issued subpoenas just weeks after federal prosecutors in Manhattan issued theirs.

The Office of Consumer Protection, which largely exists to enforce the Consumer Fraud Act, is running the state’s investigation.

One source said former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urged Trump to nominate GOP financiers he had worked with, but Trump instead kept Eisenberg as co-chair, and he and Johnson identified potential large donors.

Donors received emails with solicitations to buy tickets from the inaugural committee, with the promise to have their picture taken with Trump, and many of the donors purchased multiple $50 tickets to share with family, friends and others.

Washington lobbyist Sam Patten admitted to special counsel Robert Mueller that he illegally funneled $50,000 through an intermediary to buy inauguration tickets for a Ukrainian oligarch, although two sources directly involved in New Jersey’s fundraiser said they did not believe foreign individuals bought tickets in the state.

“Not in New Jersey,” one source said. “New Jersey was small-time stuff.”

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