Mr Zekelman used the small gathering, in a private room in the hotel, to pressure Mr Trump for more than six minutes to use his executive power to curb foreign steel imports from Asia into the United States. done, a move that would help their sales. He also asked Trump, pressuring him for three minutes during dinner, to re-evaluate highway safety rules that he said are making it difficult for truckers in the United States to move their steel tubes. .
The exchange went public as other guests at the dinner included Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who later worked with the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and who recorded the dinner during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment deliberations in 2020. issued.
According to the recording, at the 2018 dinner, Mr. Zekelman said, “Say someone is half an hour from home on their long-haul truck – they literally have to pull over to the side of the road and stop.” “They can’t go home.”
Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were eventually indicted in a separate election fraud scheme. The $325,000 he donated to America First Action has already been transferred to the Treasury by Super PAC.
In 2016 the Federal Election Commission voted unanimously to “prioritize matters involving allegations of foreign influence,” and followed up in a report to Congress in 2018. The issue became a growing concern after unlimited donations were allowed through Super PACs, and corporates. Contributions became legal, making it easier for foreigners to circumvent the rules and make larger donations.
In 2019 the commission fined $940,000 associated with donations to a Super PAC that supported Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign, after concluding that $1.3 million in contributions in 2015 were actually in the name of a California company, American Pacific International Capital. was provided in. Two Chinese citizens.
Ms Weintraub said she would be disappointed if America First Action returned donations to Mr Zekelman’s company, as opposed to transferring them to the Treasury, as they would get more back than they paid in fines. He said this provision in the agreement had been negotiated by agency staff and lawyers for Mr. Zekelman, who he said objected to.