New York investigates Trump over consulting payments that cut taxes

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In this photo from June 13, 2017, Ivanka Trump joins her father, President Donald Trump, as they walk through the South Lawn of the White House. Associated press

NEW YORK – The New York attorney general has sent a subpoena to the Trump Organization over cases related to consulting fees paid to Ivanka Trump as part of a broad civilian probe into the president’s trade relations, an official said on Thursday of law enforcement.

The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that a similar subpoena was sent to President Donald Trump’s company by the Manhattan District Attorney, who is conducting a parallel criminal investigation.

The Associated Press could not immediately independently confirm the district attorney’s subpoena, but the one sent by Attorney General Letitia James was described by an official with knowledge of the investigation who spoke under cover of ‘anonymity.

The registration requests followed a recent report in The Times, based in part on two decades of Trump’s tax returns, that the president reduced his company’s income tax over several years by deducting $ 26 million. dollars in consulting fees as a business expense.

As of September: Trump reportedly paid just $ 750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017 – and nothing in 10 of the past 15 years

Records strongly suggested, according to The Times, that $ 747,622 of those fees were paid to Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, through a company she owned at a time when she was also an executive in the Trump organization.

If this is true, it wouldn’t necessarily pose a problem for Ivanka Trump herself, as long as she was paying income tax on consulting payments, which she reported publicly.

This could, however, raise questions as to whether tax deductions related to the Trump organization were allowed. The Internal Revenue Service has in the past pursued civil penalties for large write-offs of consulting fees it said were done to avoid tax liability.

The Times wrote that there was no indication Ivanka Trump was the target of the state or city investigation.

“It’s outright harassment,” she said on Twitter Thursday night. ‚ÄúThis ‘investigation’ of the New York Democrats is motivated 100% by politics, publicity and rage. They know very well that there is nothing here and that there has been no tax benefit. These politicians are simply ruthless. “

Trump’s lawyer, Alan Garten, and his media relations office did not immediately return messages on Thursday.

James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., both Democrats, are both leading high-profile investigations into Trump’s business affairs.

Both investigations are at least in part linked to allegations, made in news reports and by President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, that Trump used to inflate the value of certain assets to impress banks and corporations. trading partners, but lowering that value when claiming taxes. benefits.

Vance has been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle to gain access to Trump’s tax returns as part of the investigation.