House Democrats are pressing ahead with a request for 10 years of President Trump’s financial records from his New York-based accountant, following accusations from Trump’s former lawyer that Trump had inflated his worth to mislead his lenders and insurers.
Last week, Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) sent a letter to Victor Wahba, the chairman and chief executive of the audit firm Mazars USA, asking for copies of “statements of financial condition” and audits prepared for Trump and several of his companies, including the company that owns the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington. The committee also asked Mazars for supporting documents used to produce those reports, as well as communications between the firm and Trump himself.
The news, first reported by Politico, leaked after top Republicans on the panel sent a letter to Wahba Wednesday expressing their displeasure over Cummings’s request and his lack of consultation with them before making it.
“His inquiry does not appear to have a valid legislative purpose and instead seems to seek information to embarrass a private individual,” wrote Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).
“We are following-up on specific allegations regarding the President’s actions based on corroborating documents obtained by the Committee, and we will continue our efforts to conduct credible, robust, and independent oversight,” Cummings said in a statement to The Washington Post.
The request relates to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s testimony before the committee in late February. Cohen provided copies of financial statements for 2011, 2012 and 2013, which he said Trump had sent to Deutsche Bank in pursuit of a loan to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2014. Cohen said the same sort of statement had been sent to Trump’s insurers in an attempt to lower Trump’s premiums by reassuring lenders about Trump’s ability to pay them.
Two of those statements, from 2011 and 2012, are signed by Mazars. The 2013 statement is shorter, and unsigned.
In an emailed statement, Mazars said that “as a matter of firm policy and professional rules we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients.”
The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The statements of financial condition were a longtime tool used by Trump to summarize his assets, debts and net worth for potential lenders and business partners.
During his testimony, Cohen — formerly Trump’s longtime attorney now headed to prison for lying to Congress in a previous hearing — said Trump sometimes exaggerated the numbers to make himself appear wealthier. He said, for instance, that Trump would inflate the values of his commercial buildings by taking the rent their tenants paid and multiplying it by a number Trump himself chose. But Cohen also alleged that Trump would deflate his assets to pay less in taxes.
In that hearing, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked Cohen whether the committee needed “to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them.”
Cohen said simply, “Yes.”
Rachael Bade contributed to this report.