Federal regulators are threatening to quash Donald Trump’s dreams of becoming the next Jeff Bezos before they have a chance to take off.
In filings Monday, the Security and Exchange Commission said it was expanding its investigation into the former president’s totally legit Trump Media & Technology Group over an impending merger with a shell company called Digital World Acquisition Corp. The two companies are seeking to merge as a shifty way to take TMTG public through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, referred to more commonly as a SPAC.
According to the filing, first spotted by Axios, regulators are reportedly probing to determine whether or not DWAC and Trump negotiated terms before DWAC officially went public. Doing so would reportedly violate U.S. law. TMTG announced its intention to merge with DWAC on October 20, 2021, but is not currently public.
The new filings reveal regulators are seeking additional documents and information pertaining to TMTG and DWAC’s communications. Eventually, the SEC says a resolution to its investigation could potentially result in “the imposition of significant penalties” or “prohibitions on the conduct of Digital World’s business.”
TMTG and DWAC did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s requests for comment.
The potential Trump merger is beginning to look like a liability for DWAC. Though the company’s stock price rocketed up on the heels of the merger announcement last year, the price has since fallen back down significantly due to investors’ concerns over regulator scrutiny. The company’s stock price took another hit this week.
Making matters worse, the expanded SEC investigation comes as public hearings over the January 6 Capitol Hill riots have thrust Trump back into the spotlight. Trump, who’s still banned from Twitter and nearly every other the major social network over his comments related to January 6, used his Truth Social platform to fire off over a dozen posts criticizing the hearings and, oddly, their TV ratings, which the former Apprentice host claimed were “absolutely awful.” In a more recent TRUT over the weekend, Trump whined about the hearings, which he described as a “one sided Witch Hunt.” When have we heard that before?