It is illegal for foreigners to donate to presidential inaugurations, but a new lawsuit sheds light on how wealthy foreigners attempted to buy access to the Trump administration.
“A Ukrainian-Russian developer who wanted access to President Trump’s inauguration filed a lawsuit on Tuesday saying he was bilked out of the $200,000 he paid for what he thought would be V.I.P. tickets to the event,” The New York Times reported Tuesday.
“The developer, Pavel Fuks, who once discussed a Moscow real estate project with Mr. Trump, said in the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, that he had paid the money to a firm at the direction of Yuri Vanetik, a prominent Republican fund-raiser and sometime lobbyist,” the newspaper explained. “But, the lawsuit said, Mr. Vanetik failed to come through with the promised tickets, and Mr. Fuks ended up watching the inauguration from a Washington hotel bar.”
“It is illegal for foreign nationals to buy tickets from the committees that host the official parties and other events around United States presidential inaugurations, a ban intended to limit international influence in American politics and government. Foreigners have long flocked to inaugurations as guests of American donors, which is permitted,” The Times explained.
“But federal prosecutors are investigating whether foreigners illegally funneled money to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC to try to influence Mr. Trump’s team,” the paper noted. “In the case of Mr. Fuks, who earned an estimated $270 million in the post-Soviet Moscow real estate boom, his money did not buy access.”
“You need to be prepared to spend money to get access at events like this,” Vanetik reportedly told Fuks.
Read the full report.