When a president takes office, the festivities surrounding the event are essentially unmatched by anything else that happens in Washington, D.C. Certainly, the inauguration itself is the most-attended event (other than a certain Women’s March we remember), but the parties that take place before and after the inauguration are a veritable who’s who of the political elite — and their private and corporate sponsors.
So when Donald Trump held an inaugural ball in a Washington hotel the night before he took office, it was an affair to remember. Or rather, the affair itself was memorable; what happened to the proceeds from it, not so much.
The National Committee of Asian American Republicans — a group that has gotten much more scrutiny lately after the discovery of Trump’s ties to Cindy Yang, the Florida owner of what turned out to be a chain of illicit massage parlors frequented by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft — is a federally registered political action committee that is required by law to submit detailed financial records to the Federal Election Commission.
And according to a new report from the Palm Beach Post, the gala that the NCAAR hosted that night raised tens of thousands of dollars in donations and ticket prices. But the FEC has no records of that money anywhere. It has disappeared entirely.
This wasn’t just any cash, however. The donations came from a Saipan casino that has since been raided by the FBI, businesses and hotels in Guam and the Pacific Islands, and some of the most powerful Asian American Republicans in the nation. Those businesses and hotels, coincidentally we’re sure, all benefited from a foreign labor bill that Trump signed later in 2017. So did the Saipan casino — we know because the event’s organizer, Trump campaign aide Jason Osborne, went on after the gala to lobby for that bill in to help the Northern Mariana Islands, where the casino is located.
All coincidental, we’re positive.
The NCAAR committee’s executive director Cliff Li told the Palm Beach Post that he actually knows where the money went, but that “I don’t want to tell you.”
I’m not sure Mr. Li understands how the FEC works. I AM sure that he’ll soon find out, courtesy of a gentle reminder from House Democrats.
Featured image via screen capture