It was revealed by the New York Times on Friday that Donald Trump executed a highly unusual maneuver to free up millions in cash in 2016, a move that tax experts believe could have been illegal.
The Times performed a deep examination of the president’s tax returns, uncovering a $21 million windfall that Trump received in 2016 from a Las Vegas hotel that he co-owns with casino mogul Phil Ruffin.
“The bulk of the money went through a company called Trump Las Vegas Sales and Marketing that had little previous income, no clear business purpose and no employees,” the Times writes. “The Trump-Ruffin joint venture wrote it all off as a business expense.”
The Times noted that the transaction came just as Trump injected $10 million of his own money into his presidential campaign.
While the Times was unable to establish definitively that the cash was used to fund the president’s campaign, it did find that “the cash flowed, in a chain of transactions, to several Trump-controlled companies and then directly to Mr. Trump himself.”
According to experts, if Trump did use that money to fund his campaign it would be considered an illegal campaign contribution.
“Why all of a sudden does this company have more than $20 million in fees that haven’t been there before?” Daniel Shaviro, a professor of taxation at the New York University School of Law, asked the Times when shown documentation of the transaction. “And all of this money is going to a man who just happens to be running for president and might not have a lot of cash on hand?”
White House spokesman Judd Deere lashed out at the Times for its reporting and called it “yet another politically motivated hit piece inaccurately smearing a standard business deal.”
You can read the full Times report HERE.