Duckworth Investigates Potential Pay-To-Play Allegations Involving Michael Cohen, Trump Donor & Department of Energy
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Following reports that a major donor to the Trump inaugural fund hired President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to help secure billions of federal dollars for a nuclear power plant project, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is asking U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry for more information on how the agency is evaluating the loan application. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump donor Franklin L. Haney agreed to pay Michael Cohen, who recently pleaded guilty to committing multiple felonies, $10 million if he was able to use his influence to secure funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) for Haney’s nuclear power plant project. Cohen, who was also paid a monthly retainer by Haney, reportedly lobbied several DOE officials to support Haney’s loan application and expedite the review process, though Cohen failed to register as a lobbyist as was legally required.
“Mr. Cohen [reportedly] lobbied several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) officials to support his client’s loan application and speed up the review process, even though public records indicate Mr. Cohen has never registered as a lobbyist,” Duckworth wrote in a letter to DOE Secretary Perry. “This unseemly pay-to-play arrangement raises serious questions of conflict-of-interest, corrupt practices and potential violations of lobbying disclosure laws."
The text of the letter is available below and online here:
The Honorable Rick Perry
Secretary of Energy
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
Dear Secretary Perry:
On August 2, 2018, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an article that described how a major donor to the Trump inaugural fund, Franklin L. Haney, hired President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in an effort to secure $5 billion in Federal funding for a nuclear power plant project that Mr. Haney’s company had a financial interest in. Specifically, Mr. Haney donated $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural fund and agreed to pay Mr. Cohen $10 million if he successfully used his influence to secure taxpayer funds for his plant site.
This unseemly pay-to-play arrangement raises serious questions of conflict-of-interest, corrupt practices and potential violations of lobbying disclosure laws. For example, the WSJ article notes that Mr. Cohen lobbied several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) officials to support his client’s loan application and speed up the review process, even though public records indicate Mr. Cohen has never registered as a lobbyist. To better understand how DOE is evaluating Mr. Haney’s loan application, including potential improper efforts to influence the decision by Mr. Cohen, please provide the following documents:
A list of every DOE appointee, career official and contractor that had direct or indirect contact with either Mr. Cohen or Mr. Haney, or representatives of either individual, in regard to the loan application or project; and
All DOE memorandums, meeting notes, emails and any other record related to Mr. Haney’s loan application or project, and communications with Mr. Cohen.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to receiving your prompt and thorough response.
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