Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) has formally introduced a bill into Congress that would require Trump to reimburse the government for funds spent on travel to his own properties, such as Mar-a-Lago in Florida and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ.
Lieu’s bill, the Stop Waste and Misuse by the President (SWAMP) Act, states that Trump’s travel “results in the American taxpayer effectively subsidizing the president’s businesses.” The bill would also require that Trump reimburse the government for Secret Service costs derived from visits to his properties.
“It is unacceptable for the president to maintain an interest in traveling to properties in which he has a direct financial interest, as the U.S. government is responsible for renting space to personnel in said private commercial entities,” Lieu said. “Every time the president travels to Mar-a-Lago, he necessarily promotes his private business interests via free press at the government’s expense.”
Trump’s costs have skyrocketed since assuming office. The Wall Street Journal has reported that, of the $6 million in “campaign funds” that Trump spent in the first quarter of 2017, $500,000 was directed right back into Trump-owned hotels, restaurants and golf clubs. In total, since the start of his campaign, over $14 million has been funneled back into Trump-owned properties.
If Trump really wants to keep his promise to “drain the swamp,” he should start with the most egregious source of government waste first: himself.
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Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.