This Week in Conflicts: Conway Skips Ethics Hearing and the Fight for Trump’s Financial Documents Continues


President Donald J. Trump addresses service members stationed during his visit to Osan Air Base, South Korea, June 30, 2019. U.S. forces across the peninsula are charged with the mission of deterring aggression, defending the Republic of Korea and maintaining stability in Northeast Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Miller)

This week, the investigation into whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign finance laws has come to an end, Kellyanne Conway skips another ethics hearing and the battle for President Donald Trump’s financial documents continues.

(Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons)

Trump Org. Campaign Finance Violations

CNN reported it is unlikely Trump Organization executives will be charged with violating campaign finance laws and according to court documents, the investigation has been completed.

Federal prosecutors have been looking into whether company leaders broke any campaign finance laws, including if there was an effort to reimburse Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, for hush-money payments made to women who alleged affairs with the president. President Trump denies the affair allegations.

According to CNN, after Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, prosecutors requested interviews with Trump Organization officials but never followed up on the request so the interviews did not happen.

“The conclusion of federal prosecutors’ investigation of the Trump company’s role in the Cohen matter marks a significant victory for the President’s family business, although it likely doesn’t come as a complete surprise,” CNN reported. “There had been no contact between the Manhattan US Attorney’s office and officials at the Trump Organization in more than five months.”

With the investigation over, federal prosecutors were ordered to release information connected to their probe to the public.

“The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance,” US District Court Judge William Pauley wrote in his decision. “Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials.”

NBC News says the documents show “the FBI believed then-candidate Donald Trump was closely involved in a scheme to hide hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had an affair with Trump.”

The documents, according to NBC, “describe a ‘series of calls, text messages, and emails’ among Cohen, Trump, Trump campaign aide Hope Hicks, Keith Davidson — an attorney for Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford — and David Pecker, an executive of the company that published the National Enquirer.”


Fight for Financial Documents

The fight for President Trump’s financial documents continues.

As the Washington Post reports, a federal appeals court challenged the president’s attempt to block Congress from receiving records from his long-time accounting firm, Mazars USA.

The House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Mazars for eight years of financial statements and audits the company prepared for President Trump and some of his companies. President Trump has asked for the subpoena to be blocked, warning of the implications if lawmakers had access to investigate the personal business dealings of a president.

“When it comes to a president’s conflict of interest, there’s nothing Congress can do . . . to protect the people of the United States?” U.S. Appellate Judge Patricia A. Millett, asked. 

According to the Washington Post, “the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit appeared divided at times during the case, one of the first of several separation-of-powers battles that are advancing through the appellate courts and expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.”


Conway Skips Ethics Hearing

For the second time, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway refused to attend a House Oversight Committee hearing about her alleged violation of the Hatch Act.

As Courthouse News reports, “the White House Counsel’s Office sent a letter less than half an hour before Monday’s hearing, arguing Conway is immune from testifying before Congress.”

Conway is accused of violating the Hatch Act which limits the political activities of federal employees. 

“The independent U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued a recommendation to the White House on June 13 that President Donald Trump fire his close aide for continuing to disregard the Hatch Act by politicizing her office,” according to Courthouse News.

More conflicts of interest in the news

About this Project

Sunlight’s “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” project provides a free, searchable database detailing President Donald J. Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as President of the United States. The project also documents news coverage of these potential conflicts. Read our reporting to stay current on related news, explore our database, and learn more about the project. As we continue to learn about the First Family’s business holdings, the database will be updated. To help with those updates, get involved by contacting us here. You can also contact us if you’re familiar with any of the conflicts we’re tracking. 

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She produces content focused on government accountability, public access to information and freedom of expression issues. She’s also helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public through the Trusting News project.