Trump campaign: Federal prosecutors investigating large donation made by real estate mogul

Developer Franklin Haney was seeking approval and government support in purchasing the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver
New York
Monday 27 May 2019 21:30 BST
Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in northeastern Alabama
Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in northeastern Alabama ((AP Photo/Brynn Anderson))

An investigation into the finances of Donald Trump’s inaugural committee has drawn attention and scrutiny to a massive donation of $1m (£790,000).

Real estate mogul Franklin Haney, a known political donor, gave the hefty sum to Mr Trump at the same time that the developer was seeking approval and government support in purchasing the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, which lies unfinished in Alabama.

Mr Haney, two years later, has yet to close the deal.

His donation to Mr Trump’s inaugural committee is being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York, whose search is focused, in part, on if those who handed cash to the committee received any benefits in return.

Prosecutors also are exploring if foreign nationals unlawfully donated funds to the committee. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan issued a subpoena last year demanding an array of financial records, including any “communications regarding or relating to the possibility of donations by foreign nationals.”

Mr Trump’s inaugural committee has denied any wrongdoing and claims all funds are accounted for.

The president’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had allegedly given the prosecutors information on Mr Haney and his son and business associate, Frank Haney Jr, regarding the nuclear plant project, according to an anonymous source that spoke to ABC.

Mr Haney had briefly hired Cohen, who is now serving a three year sentence for tax evasion, campaign finance violations and lying to congress, for his assistance in obtaining money for the power plant project from potential investors.

This is not the first time Mr Haney, 79, has faced allegations his political donations were an attempt at gaining influence. Mr Haney has been investigated by the US House Republicans in the past for his donations and political influence on the Clinton Administration, which moved the Federal Communications Commission into a building that would benefit the businessman, but the Justice Department declined to pursue the matter.

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Mr Haney was charged in 1999 with funnelling about $100,000 in illegal contributions to President Bill Clinton, then-Vice President Al Gore and other politicians, but was ultimately acquitted.

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