A federal grand jury is considering whether Elliott Broidy, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, improperly used his position as vice chair of Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee to allegedly boost his own business deals with foreign leaders, according to a report from The Associated Press on Monday.
Attorneys for Broidy have denied the allegations.
While this is the latest in a series of unfavorable headlines about the claims against Broidy, the national Republican Party does not appear to have divested the more than $100,000 he donated to its various arms in recent years.
Broidy, a wealthy venture capitalist who owns a global security business, is a major player in Republican politics. He served as finance chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) from 2006 to 2008, as vice chair of the Trump Victory Committee in 2016, and was appointed by Trump’s handpicked RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel to be deputy finance chair for the party in 2017.
Broidy has also been scrutinized for ethics reasons.
In 2009, he pleaded guilty to bribing New York pension officials. Broidy’s plea was later withdrawn in 2012, based on his cooperation with authorities. He pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of attempted rewarding official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
In 2017, Broidy agreed to pay an an ex-mistress $1.6 million in hush money to remain quiet about their extramarital affair (which Broidy admitted to, acknowledging it was a “mistake” in a statement to CNN last year) but stopped making payments after the affair became public, according to court papers. In total, he paid the woman $400,000. The woman later accused him in court filings of allegedly physically injuring her and other non-consensual behavior, all of which Broidy has vigorously denied.
Last August, The Washington Post reported that Broidy was being investigated by the Department of Justice for alleged influence peddling. At the time, the paper reported that prosecutors were “scrutinizing a plan that Broidy allegedly developed to try to persuade the Trump government to extradite a Chinese dissident back to his home country, a move sought by Chinese President Xi Jinping” and claimed that Broidy had allegedly “sought $75 million from a Malaysian business official if the Justice Department ended its investigation of a development fund run by the Malaysian government.”
The “plan” in question was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times earlier in 2018, and both cited a trove of hacked emails. Broidy at the time denied all allegations of wrongdoing and claimed the documents were stolen by rivals seeking to destroy his reputation. “This whole narrative is a fabrication driven by hackers who want to undermine me,” he told the Times in a statement.
On Monday, the AP reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn had sent a “wide-ranging subpoena” to Trump’s inaugural committee, seeking “records relating to 20 individuals and businesses,” all of which have “connections to Broidy, his investment and defense contracting firms, and foreign officials he pursued deals with — including the current president of Angola and two politicians in Romania.”
The AP reported that prosecutors “appear to be investigating whether Broidy exploited his access to Trump for personal gain and violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to offer foreign officials ‘anything of value’ to gain a business advantage,” such as access to Trump or his inaugural events.
Broidy’s attorneys told the wire service that he and his firm had no financial dealings with “any Romanian government agency, proxy or agent,” and that their work with Angola was not connected to his role on the inaugural committee.
Despite these claims and the alleged investigation into Broidy, a ThinkProgress review of federal campaign finance records found no indication that three powerful GOP organizations — the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), or the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — have returned or donated the funds they received from him.
It is possible the groups may have divested the funds since their most recent filings through May of this year.
ThinkProgress reached out to the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC on Monday inquiring about whether any had refunded or donated the funds given to them by Broidy since their most recent campaign finance filings. None immediately responded.
Last September, ThinkProgress reported that the three GOP campaign arms had each received and kept at least $33,900, the legal maximum, from Broidy in the 2018 campaign cycle. It also noted that several House Republicans had held onto personal donations he gave them. These included Reps. Mimi Walters, Jeff Denham, Dana Rohrabacher, Steve Knight, and David Valadao — all California Republicans — and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Though he did not respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about the donations, Valadao quietly refunded $5,400 to Broidy on the day that story was published.
All five California lawmakers were defeated in the November 2018 midterms; Fitzpatrick was narrowly re-elected.
In 2017, RNC Chair McDaniel demanded that Democrats who had received donations from accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein return his donations. “If you really stand for what you say you do, give his money back,” she said at that time.
McDaniel took a different tack when similar allegations were leveled against then-RNC Finance Chair Steve Wynn, saying the RNC would only return the money if he was found guilty of wrongdoing.
Wynn gave more than $220,000 to the RNC in 2017 alone.