The donation of one million announcements at the inauguration of Trump is ba bajo escrutinio.
Franklin Haney’s political donation came as he sought regulatory approval and financial support for his attempt to acquire a nuclear power plant in Alabama.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Le Magnat de l’Immobilier, Franklin Haney, has drafted a million dollars for the inaugural committee of President Donald Trump. Tout qu’il a à montrer pour l’argent est l’éclat d’une enquête fédérale.
The contribution of Haney, a prolific political donor, came as he sought regulatory approval and financial support from the government for his great offer to acquire the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station in northeastern Alabama. More than two years later, he has not yet concluded the agreement.
His story is known in Washington, where lobbyists and wealthy donors use their checkbooks to try to influence politicians. Haney is used to operating in a world in which Trump came to the office promising to help. However, Trump has left many of the known methods of influence.
Federal prosecutors in New York who are studying the committee’s finances are currently examining Haney’s powerful donation to Trump’s inauguration committee. His research focuses in part on whether donors received benefits after making contributions.
Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, provided prosecutors with information about Haney, his son and business partner Frank Haney Jr., and about the nuclear power plant project, according to a person close to what Cohen told the police. authorities. The person was not allowed to speak in public and requested anonymity.
Haney briefly engaged Cohen to help raise funds for the Bellefonte project from potential investors, including Qatar, in the Middle East. Cohen is currently serving a three-year sentence for tax evasion, lies to Congress and violations of campaign financing.
Haney and his lawyer did not respond to the interview requests.
Prosecutors are also examining whether foreigners contributed illegally to the committee. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan issued a subpoena last year seeking a wide range of committee financial records, including “communications related to the possibility of donations from foreign citizens.”
The inaugural committee has denied the irregularities and said its funds were fully accounted for.
Haney, 79, has previously faced accusations that his political donation is aimed at cultivating influence. An investigation by Republicans in the House of Representatives in the late 1990s alleged that Haney’s money and political influence with senior Clinton administration officials helped him get the Federal Communications Commission to move to a building of offices in which I had a large participation. Haney denied any crime and the Justice Department refused to pursue the matter.
But he was accused in 1999 of channeling about $ 100,000 in illegal contributions to President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and other politicians, then acquitted. A federal prosecutor described Haney as a sophisticated fundraiser who hoped to impress potential commercial clients with his access to elected officials, such as Clinton and Gore.
Haney’s family-owned real estate business donated thousands of dollars in 2013 and 2015 to the political action committees that supported Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who then recommended that the nuclear plant Haney wanted to buy be put up for sale. Haney also contributed to a non-profit organization created to promote the Bentley agenda. The Republican governor resigned in 2017 when he faced an impeachment proceeding after an alleged case with an aide.
In addition to investigating Haney’s contribution to Trump’s inaugural committee, Haney is engaged in a legal battle unrelated to the owner of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Another company in the Haney group, Nuclear Development LLC, filed a lawsuit in a federal court, accusing TVA, the country’s biggest utility, of illegally banning the sale of the plant at the last minute. The utility company argued that it could not complete the transaction because Haney did not get approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the transfer of building permits.
An interim sale of Bellefonte in November 2016 involved two partially constructed nuclear reactors and cooling towers, several other buildings and more than 1,000 acres of land on the Tennessee River. Haney left $ 22 million and had until November 2018 to finalize the sale of $ 111 million.
On November 29, the day before the closing of the sale, TVA had rejected the agreement and declared that Haney’s business had not yet obtained the regulatory approval required by the Atomic Energy Act. Haney sued for breach of contract.
In early April, about five months after Nuclear Development’s application for a building permit was filed, regulatory board staff told the company that it needed to submit more technical details before it could proceed.
Edwin Lyman, an expert in nuclear power at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the answer reflected skepticism about whether Haney’s company “is serious or capable of doing this project, or whether it simply wants to license it”. pocket for unknown purposes “. “
But Lyman said the five-member nuclear regulator council is dominated by Trump’s nominees and he may not want Congress and the administration to see it as an obstacle. to the expansion of nuclear energy.
Haney Nuclear Development has also solicited financial assistance from the United States Department of Energy for the project. The ministry said it considered the loan application process “business-sensitive” and declined to comment.
Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy non-profit organization, said Haney faced many technical and financial hurdles to overcome.
For example, the nuclear reactors never completed at Bellefonte are decades old and have a unique design that has never been licensed in the United States. UU He likened Bellefonte to a Ford Pinto, a 1970s vehicle with serious technical failures. Smith said it was “extremely unlikely” that Bellefonte could work.