President Trump’s inauguration committee reportedly paid the Trump Organization for “rooms, meals, and event space” at Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel. According to an investigation by WNYC and ProPublica, current White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump was “involved in negotiating the price the hotel charged” for venue rentals in the run-up to and during her father’s inauguration. Ivanka reportedly connected the deputy to the chairman of the inaugural committee, Rick Gates, to the managing director of the hotel, who suggested a rate of “$175,000 per day” for the hotel’s presidential ballroom. An inauguration organizer and friend of first lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, reportedly expressed concern about the rates suggested by the managing director and suggested a day rate of $85,000 instead. “Please take into consideration that when this is audited it will become public knowledge,” she wrote in an email. ProPublica reports it is unclear how much the committee ended up paying for renting out event space at the D.C. hotel. If the hotel overcharged the committee, it could run afoul of tax rules, an expert told the publication.
The inaugural committee also reportedly asked other hotels to “take payments directly from donors.” This comes as federal prosecutors have reportedly opened an investigation into whether the inaugural committee “misspent” its funds.