- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2019


“Follow the money” is the Hippocratic oath of lawyers, lobbyists and lawmakers — the political machine that runs the United States of America.

Enter Donald J. Trump, who separated himself from the 2016 pack and became U.S. president.

Mr. Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, would have you believe that Mr. Trump is a racist, a liar and an all-around bad guy, the kind of “deplorable” Hillary Clinton spoke of.

Well, Mr. Trump is also in the cross hairs of the District’s political machine, the original gangsters of liberalism and socialism most feared by conservatives — both Republicans and Democrats — who didn’t want D.C. residents to gain the right to vote in presidential elections.

While the city power structure was hardly run or overrun with blacks at that time, today’s City Hall holds, for most practical purposes, all the political levers.

Now enters Karl Racine, the current D.C. attorney general who knows a good civil lawsuit when he sees one.

He has taken on D.C. government employees, parents who scam the education system, slum landlords and many others. He also has joined lawsuits of many states, the District of Columbia itself is not a state.

In short, if Mr. Racine and his D.C. Office of the Attorney General suspect an individual, organization or business has run afoul of the law, he’s coming for you — and he’s a winner.

Mr. Trump isn’t on the run, but he is a target of Mr. Racine’s magnifying lens.

This week, D.C. prosecutors became third in line, behind New York and New Jersey, to subpoena the Trump inauguration committee. They want to know the specifics of the whos, the whats, the whens and the wheres — and, of course, how much.

Mr. Racine’s office specifically is probing whether the Trump inaugural committee’s funds “were wasted, mismanaged and/or improperly provided private benefit, causing the committee to exceed or abuse its authority or act contrary to its nonprofit purpose,” according to The New York Times, which wrote the initial news story.

The D.C. subpoena reportedly also seeks payments, cited as $1.5 million to the Trump Organization and/or Trump International Hotel for rooms, food and ballroom used during the inauguration.

Whether the three subpoenas are a gut punch to Mr. Trump isn’t clear.

What’s certain is that conservatives, both Democratic ones and Republican ones, had the gut instinct to be concerned about conferring voting rights upon the District, which was hatched in blue ink way back when lawmakers used writing instruments.

Mr. Racine is definitely a Democrat, too, and is astute enough to know that he would never have become the city’s first elected attorney general had he not.

To his credit, as well, is that his lawsuits, for the most part, bode well for city taxpayers because they are essentially and effectively cash cows whose teats are milked into D.C. coffers.

The Trump subpoena, however, could never cover the outrageous spending by City Hall, where Democrats rarely see a liberal policy they don’t like.

Even as this is written, D.C. officials are considering tax increases on residents and businesses.

And that’s why after the lawyers, lobbyists and lawmakers cite their oath, they cross their fingers, jump into the swamp and mouth underwater “Follow the money.”

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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