In Trump Organization probe, NY attorney general seeks more tax documents

Investigators for New York Attorney General Letitia James’ probe into Donald Trump and the Trump Organization’s finances are seeking documents from a second accounting firm that did work for the company, according to a document filed in a New York State court.

On March 10, James’ office requested that the Trump Organization provide written consent for the firm RSM US LLP “to disclose tax documents” to the attorney general. It is not clear what work RSM has done for the company, or for how long the firm counted the Trump Organization as a client.

A spokesperson for RSM said in an email that the firm could not answer questions about the attorney general’s request. 

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on legal or regulatory matters,” said Kimberly Bartok, the company’s spokesperson.

The request for documents from RSM was sent less than a month after James’ office revealed in a court filing that another accounting firm, Mazars USA, had recanted financial statements from a decade of work for the Trump Organization.

A person with knowledge of the investigation confirmed that James’ office made the RSM request. The request was revealed in an exhibit filed by James’ office during a back-and-forth over a separate dispute related to electronic discovery in the New York attorney general’s ongoing investigation of the Trump Organization. The exhibit is a March 14 letter to James’ office from Lawrence Rosen, an attorney for the Trump Organization, in which he cites in a footnote the request for documents from RSM, which was previously known as McGladrey LLP. 

In the letter, Rosen also indicates James’ office “first mentioned the purported relevance of documents relating to McGladrey’s work over four months ago.” 

James’ office declined to answer questions related to its interest in the accounting firm.  Rosen wrote in his letter that investigators had not yet issued a subpoena for the information.

Rosen did not reply to questions sent by CBS News.

RSM has not been accused of wrongdoing and is not a target of James’ investigation.

An RSM executive, David Kautter, was nominated by Trump in 2017 and served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy from Sept. 25, 2017 to Jan. 20, 2021. Kautter was briefly also Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, from Nov. 13, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018. Kautter, who was partner-in-charge of RSM’s Washington national tax division before joining the Trump administration, returned to the company in August 2021 as its federal specialty tax leader. 

There is no indication Kautter was involved in the firm’s work for the Trump Organization or for any member of the Trump family. 

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not reply to questions about RSM and James’ investigation.

Trump, his company and his attorneys have repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Trump sued James in December, arguing that her investigation should be halted and claiming that she “possessed no evidence” and “fabricated the allegations out of thin air.”  

Trump called the investigation “unconstitutional” in a Dec. 20 phone call with CBS News. “We are such an aggrieved and innocent party. It is a disgrace,” he said.

James’ office is conducting a wide-ranging civil fraud probe. She claimed in a February press release that “evidence continues to mount showing that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading financial statements to obtain economic benefit.”

In February, a New York State judge ordered Trump, his daughter Ivanka and his son Donald Jr. to appear for depositions in the investigation. They filed an appeal Monday, arguing that James, a Democrat, is targeting them out of political animus toward the Republican former president. They also accused James’ office of plotting to turn over their depositions to a Manhattan criminal grand jury investigating the Trump Organization.

“Well before the future Attorney General could have seen any evidence or known any facts, Ms. James made her opposition to Donald Trump’s politics and policies a focal point of her campaign and promised to target Mr. Trump, threatening him with prosecution if she won,” attorneys for the Trumps and the Trump Organization wrote in their appeal brief.

In a press release, James decried the Trumps’ “continuous efforts to impede this investigation.”