A federal grand jury is investigating a powerful Republican fundraiser who served as the vice chair of President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The grand jury aims to learn whether Elliot Broidy used his position on the committee to boost his businesses.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn has sent a subpoena requesting records related to 20 individuals and businesses with connections to Broidy as a part of the probe, the AP reported. Among those listed in the subpoena were the current president of Angola and two politicians in Romania.
Broidy, 61, made a fortune in investments and has since become a defense contractor. Per the AP, it appears prosecutors are looking into whether he “exploited his access to Trump for personal gain and violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” which prohibits citizens from offering items of value to foreign officials in an effort to advance their business interests. Anything from inauguration tickets to access to the president could be considered items of value.
The AP noted that several of the names in the subpoena also appeared in emails from Broidy that were leaked to press outlets last year. Broidy’s lawyers say those messages were hacked and doctored, but they have not specified which emails they believed to be altered. The AP reported that the emails, as provided to the outlet, showed Broidy inviting Angolan leaders to the inauguration with an accompanying multimillion-dollar security contract for his security firm Circinus.
Broidy’s lawyers told the AP in a statement while Circinus did have an agreement with Angola, it wasn’t connected with Trump’s inauguration or Broidy's powerful role in the committee. They also said that neither Broidy nor Circinus had a contract with “any Romanian government agency, proxy or agent.”
After serving on the Trump inauguration committee, Broidy became deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. He resigned in April 2018 when it was revealed he agreed to pay a woman $1.6 million in hush money after she became pregnant with his child in an affair. The agreement was overseen by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, who’s now in prison for tax fraud, lying to Congress, and violating campaign finance laws.
In a seemingly separate investigation, Manhattan federal prosecutors are probing whether the inauguration committee’s record $107 million haul was boosted by illegal contributions. ProPublica reported in March that federal authorities raided Broidy’s office seeking records related to his contacts with foreign officials and Trump administration associates.
It wouldn’t be the first time Broidy misused funds to boost his business. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to charges that he made approximately $1 million in illegal gifts to secure a $250 million investment from New York’s public pension fund.
Cover: In this Feb. 27, 2008, file photo, Elliott Broidy poses for a photo at an event in New York. Federal prosecutors have cast a wide net in their investigation of top GOP fundraiser Broidy, probing his business dealings around the world as part of an inquiry into the Los Angeles businessman's efforts to cash in on his close connections to President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/David Karp, File).