Trump Surprised by New Criminal Bribery Complaint, DOJ and FBI Urged to Act

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a criminal bribery complaint, urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate former President Donald Trump’s alleged solicitation of substantial campaign donations from fossil fuel executives.

According to a report by NBC News on Monday, June 24, 2024, the allegations, first reported by The Washington Post, have triggered a bold call for a thorough investigation into what many are calling an egregious example of political corruption.

Notably, the Citizens for Ethics website confirmed that according to the complaint filed on Monday, “The FBI and Department of Justice should investigate whether Donald Trump violated the law by promising political favors if re-elected, to the oil and gas industry in exchange for $1 billion in campaign donations.”

The controversy centers around a meeting held in April where Trump allegedly solicited $1 billion in campaign contributions from oil industry executives.

The Washington Post report first indicated that during the meeting, Trump characterized these contributions as part of a “deal,” implying that in return for their financial support, he would dismantle Biden administration regulations affecting the industry if re-elected.

Such promises included ending the current administration’s pause on new natural gas export approvals.

An individual with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke to The Hill on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the request for contributions but denied any explicit quid pro quo agreement was discussed. as reported by Reuters.

Nevertheless, the language and context of the request have raised significant legal and ethical concerns.

The reaction from Capitol Hill has been swift. Senate Budget Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have announced a joint investigation into the meeting.

Whitehouse also labeled the incident the “definition of corruption,” reflecting past widespread alarm over the potential implications for democratic governance and the rule of law.

CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement, “We cannot have government officials making important policy as a result of corrupt exchanges that benefit them, rather than what is in the interest of the American people. That’s why the law is clear that a request for a benefit, including campaign contributions, in exchange for an official act is a bribe.”

CREW’s complaint is a forceful response to these allegations. The group’s president emphasized the serious nature of the situation, asserting that Trump’s actions represent a clear violation of anti-bribery laws.

“Donald Trump’s actions here follow a pattern of Trump opening himself up to corrupt influence, courting conflicts of interest, and using official positions to enrich himself–and in this case may run afoul of the criminal law,” Bookbinder added in the statement.

The complaint was formally addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Corey Amundson, chief of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section. report from CNN.

The Hill also reported that CREW has a history of legal action against Trump, including a previous complaint alleging violations of constitutional prohibitions against federal officials accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments.

This earlier case was dismissed by the Supreme Court in January 2021 after Trump left office, but it set a precedent for continued scrutiny of Trump’s conduct.

The current allegations are likely to have far-reaching implications for Trump’s political future. The accusations came at a time when Trump is already embroiled in multiple legal battles and investigations, ranging from his handling of classified information to his role in the January 6th Capitol insurrection.