Donald Trump should be investigated for knowingly and willfully making false statements about debts owed to his Chicago business on his public financial disclosure reports, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington with the FBI and Department of Justice.

Between 2015 and 2023, Trump disclosed owing more than $50,000,000 to his Chicago business, a claim he signed to be “true, complete and correct to the best of [his] knowledge.” However, a court appointed monitor revealed that she was told by the Trump Organization that this Chicago loan “never existed.” A false claim of being owed tens of millions of dollars could be part of a tax avoidance scheme known as debt parking or could conceal a hidden debt to another party.

“Donald Trump has a long history of lying about his finances, but there’s a big difference between lying about them in the press and lying about them on a government disclosure,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said. “This isn’t his normal puffery. This is another potential violation of criminal law.”

The purpose of public financial disclosures is to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the federal government by demonstrating that high-level government officials are able to carry out their duties without conflicts of interest. If Trump knowingly and intentionally falsified his disclosures, he will have undermined the public trust that these laws are designed to protect.

“No one is above the law. The rules that apply to everyone else in the executive branch must also apply to Donald Trump,” Bookbinder said. “The FBI and DOJ must investigate.”

Header illustration by Miru Osuga/CREW | Trump tower photo by Gareth via a Creative Commons license

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