CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
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Washington – President Trump should be investigated for failing to disclose receiving pro bono legal services from Rudy Giuliani as well as a $50 million personal loan to his Scottish golf course, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Ethics. Trump is legally required to disclose all gifts and assets such as loans owed to him on his public financial disclosures.
Of all of Trump’s many lawyers, Rudy Giuliani is the most prominent, thanks to his involvement in Ukraine and the growing impeachment investigation. Giuliani has repeatedly acknowledged in the media that he has been providing pro bono legal services to Trump. His lawyer represented this as well in court in his divorce case. If this is true, it means Trump received a gift that he failed to disclose in violation of the law.
Trump also appears to have personally loaned the struggling Trump Aberdeen golf course more than $50 million. In its UK financial statements, the course, which has lost money for seven consecutive years, asserted that the loan came from “Mr DJ Trump, director.” Failure to disclose the loan owed to him as an asset would be another violation of the law.
“Donald Trump may be the least transparent president in American history,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “While there is no law forcing him to release his tax returns, there is a law requiring him to accurately disclose gifts and loans–a law he has apparently repeatedly violated.”
These are not the first serious questions raised about Trump’s financial disclosures. CREW previously filed a complaint over his failure to disclose a liability to his then-personal attorney Michael Cohen for a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election. OGE determined that Trump was required to disclose the liability and referred the matter to the DOJ.
“It was a big deal the first time that President Trump failed to disclose key financial interests with his controversial personal lawyer,” Bookbinder said. “It should be a much bigger deal that he’s apparently done it again with another controversial personal lawyer.”