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CREW files bribery complaint against Trump over oil industry donations

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a bribery lawsuit calling on the Department of Justice to investigate former President Trump’s solicitation of campaign contributions from fossil fuel executives.

The former president met with oil industry executives in April and asked for $1 billion in campaign contributions, The Hill reported last month.

The Washington Post, which first reported the request, also reported that former President Trump called the donation a “deal” and said the Biden administration would ease restrictions on the industry during his second term. A person familiar with the meeting confirmed the request to The Hill but denied that any quid pro quo was agreed upon.

The chairmen of the Senate Budget and Finance committees also announced a joint investigation into the meeting, with Budget Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Iowa) calling it “a textbook example of corruption.”

The former president reportedly promised industry executives that he would end the Biden administration’s moratorium on new natural gas export approvals and asked attendees at a fundraising event in late May for “generous donations” but did not request a dollar amount. according to The Washington Post.

“Government officials cannot allow important policy decisions to be made as a result of corrupt deals rather than in the interest of the American people. That’s why the law is clear that soliciting benefits, including campaign contributions, in exchange for official services is a bribery,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

“Donald Trump’s conduct continues a pattern of him exposing himself to corrupting influences, creating conflicts of interest, and using his public office to enrich himself and, in this case, may violate criminal laws.”

The letter was addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Department of Justice Public Integrity Division Chief Corey Amundson. CREW had previously sued then-President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution’s ban on federal employees receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments. The Supreme Court ordered a lower court to dismiss the case in January 2021, after Trump left office.

In a statement to The Hill, Trump campaign spokeswoman Caroline Leavitt called the Post report “false,” adding, “Joe Biden is being manipulated by environmental extremists who want to implement the most radical energy policy in history and force Americans into buying electric cars they can’t afford. President Trump is supported by those who share his vision of American energy dominance, protecting our national security and lowering the cost of living for all Americans.”

Updated 4:24 p.m.

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