Ivanka Trump calls New York investigations into Trump Organization tax write-offs political 'harassment'

William Cummings, USA TODAY
·2 min read

White House adviser Ivanka Trump on Thursday denounced a pair of fraud investigations by New York authorities into the Trump Organization's taxes as political "harassment."

New York Attorney General Letitia James' office sent a subpoena to the Trump Organization for records related to consulting fees paid to Ivanka Trump as part of a broad civil investigation into President Donald Trump's business dealings, The Associated Press reported. The New York Times reported that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is conducting a parallel criminal investigation, had issued a similar subpoena. Both James and Vance are Democrats.

"This is harassment pure and simple," said the president's oldest daughter in a tweet linking to the Times article about the probes. "This ‘inquiry’ by NYC democrats is 100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage. They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless."

The New York authorities' investigations followed the Times' reporting on tax filings from Trump and the Trump Organization that showed large deductions, which some experts flagged as legally dubious, were used to drastically reduce their tax liability. Among the write-offs were $26 million in consulting fees between 2010 and 2018.

More: Donald Trump, Seven Springs and his $21 million tax deduction draw scrutiny

One $747,622 payment for consulting fees exactly matched a payment to a company co-owned by Ivanka Trump that she listed on a 2017 disclosure she filed when she joined the White House, the Times reported. Ivanka Trump was still a Trump Organization executive when the consulting fee was paid.

The consulting fee should not pose any legal problems for Ivanka Trump if she paid income tax on the money, according to the Associated Press. But the Internal Revenue Service could disallow the Trump Organization's deduction and impose civil penalties if they believe the consulting fee write-off constituted an attempt to avoid taxes.

The Times reported that Ivanka Trump did not appear to be a target of the city or state investigations.

The probes are partly tied to allegations by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who said his old boss would often inflate the value of some assets to impress banks and business partners, but give lower estimates of their worth for tax purposes.

Vance has been involved in a long court battle seeking access to Trump’s tax filings as part of the investigation.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ivanka Trump: Cyrus Vance, Letitia James tax probes are 'harassment'