The spokesperson for former President Donald Trump, Taylor Budowich—who investigators say helped fundraising efforts for the rally at the Ellipse in Washington on January 6—has launched a bid to stop investigators from reviewing his financial records.
His lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., and revealed that Budowich has so far turned over more than 1,700 pages of records to the January 6 select committee.
The 21-page complaint named all committee members, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Budowich’s bank, J.P. Morgan Chase. The Trump spokesman claims he has already fielded questions from investigators related to the “planning of a peaceful, lawful rally” this December for more than four hours. However, the scrutiny of his finances, he says, is a step too far.
In November, the January 6 select committee issued its first subpoena to Budowich, noting their inquiry was related to his alleged funneling of $200,000 from an undisclosed “source or sources” to promote the rally near the Capitol. Budowich, investigators say, “facilitated the transfer” of those funds with Women for America First VIP adviser Caroline Wren. Wren was subpoenaed by the committee this September. She has been cooperating with the committee and reportedly sat for a deposition in mid-December for several hours.
Investigators have requested information from Wren about her alleged communication with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows—now awaiting possible indictment by the DOJ for contempt of Congress—and the committee has sought information about reports that Wren “parked funds” flagged for January 6 with a variety of nonprofits.
Though he has balked over the demand to J.P Morgan, it is still unclear if the bank has actually supplied the committee with the records. A bank spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment but in the lawsuit, Budowich’s attorney says the financial institution, on December 21 gave Budowich until Christmas Eve to stop the review. Budowich also claimed both the bank and the select committee refused to extend his deadline.
As of Monday morning, Budowich’s legal docket in D.C. has been quiet and it is unclear if his attempt to block the committee with a temporary restraining order will be a success.
In a statement after hitting the committee with his lawsuit, the Trump spokesman said: “Democracy is under attack. However, not by the people who illegally entered the Capitol on Janiuary 6, 2021, but instead by a committee whose members walk freely in its halls every day.”
That rhetoric, and a sizeable portion of Budowich’s legal complaint, echo other sentiments that have sprouted from almost a dozen figures the committee has sized up as it digs into the insurrection on Jan. 6.
For instance, Budowich claims the committee lacks legislative merit and is part of an “unconstitutional attempt to usurp the Executive Branch’s authority to enforce the law.” But that theory has been shot down by a federal appeals court in Washington. And as for Trump, even he is in the middle of testing those waters now. Just before the holidays and as a filing deadline loomed, the former president appealed an earlier ruling from the courts that permitted scrutiny of his presidential records as it relates to the attack. The next move there is up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Budowich argues too that the request to J.P. Morgan by the committee violated his First Amendment right because it was too hasty.
The Trump spokesman, who is also the sole owner of the for-profit Conservative Strategies, Inc. organization, claims he gave the committee “sufficient” information on his bank statements from about mid-December 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021.
A committee spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.
The probe has been actively pursuing mountains of information for months. Investigators have interviewed nearly 300 people so far and just this month, the body finally began to issue notices to prominent Trump allies and sitting U.S. lawmakers who amplified Trump’s lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election. A request for voluntary cooperation was issued to Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican. He lashed out, refusing to comply. And Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was also asked to meet with investigators voluntarily to disclose information about his discussions with Trump on Jan. 6.
Jordan did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
In the past, Jordan has said he spoke to Trump after the riot was over. His story changed when he told Politico that he “definitely” spoke to Trump multiple times but did not recall the timeframe. One of those calls, he conceded, occurred when he was in a secure lockdown area with other lawmakers as the Capitol was under siege. In July, when pressed by reporters about whether he would cooperate with the committee, Jordan said “If they call me, I got nothing to hide.”
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos