By now we’ve all heard the stories about how Donald Trump is making money hand over fist as those people eager for his presidential favor flock to the hotels and resorts he owns around the world hoping that their patronage does not go unrecognized in the president’s transactional mindset.
From the Republicans making the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC their new favorite watering hole to foreign diplomats booking extended stays at Trump properties to Attorney General William Barr’s $30,000 personal holiday party, the president has not met an emolument that he would turn away.
Even more troubling has been the more recently disclosed surreptitious funneling of federal funds to failing Trump golf resorts with the unnecessary Air Force layovers in Scotland and the Pence family heritage tour during his diplomatic visit to Dublin. Still, the ultimate money-grubbing scam has been Trump’s attempts to ensure that next year’s G7 meeting is held at his Miami Doral golf resort.
Yet, despite all of the obviously unprecedented graft and personal enrichment associated with the president and the businesses that he refused to divest himself of when assuming office, there is no complete accounting of exactly how much money Trump has managed to siphon from the U.S. Treasury for his own benefit.
Now, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has introduced legislation that will allow the public some insight into how many of their hard-earned tax dollars are ending up paying for Trump’s gold-plated toilets.
Rep. Schiff is sponsoring a bill that would mandate that all federal agencies must report any spending at the president’s businesses to the Office of Government Ethics within 10 days of making the expenditure. The bill stems from the multiple investigations that House Democrats have already initiated into the Trump administration’s decision to ignore emoluments regulations.
“This president has profited off of the presidency in an unprecedented way,” Schiff said in a statement. “Each time President Trump, accompanied by Secret Service agents, White House staff and other federal officials, makes an official visit to one of his properties, the Trump Organization profits.”
Given that TrumpGolfCount.com — the website dedicated to tracking the president’s daytime visits to his golf clubs since his inauguration — has pegged the 218 visits that Trump has made to his properties to date as setting taxpayers back about $109 million, one can expect the total government outlay to his businesses to be considerably larger.
A report in The Washington Post from earlier this year estimated that Trump’s visits to his own properties since becoming president, including his Mar-a-Lago trips, have brought at least $1.6 million from the federal government and GOP campaigns into his coffers. That estimate, however, only considers expenditures through June of 2o17, so it has likely increased exponentially since then.
With Trump hypocritically droning on about Joe Biden and corruption in Ukraine, it’s good to see Democrats like Congressman Schiff refocusing attention on the administration’s blatant lawlessness and introducing a bill that can help quantify the magnitude of the president’s illegal emoluments for all to see.
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Original reporting by Cristina Marcos at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.