Money Funnel Revealed From Secret Service To Trump

0
1085

President Donald Trump has literally been making money off his time in office, which is not exactly something one might like to hear about a president of the United States. Observers expect presidents to act impartially, without personal financial interests meddling in the process — but that impartiality is absent from the Trump administration. Federal records newly obtained by the government watchdog group Public Citizen bring the tally of Trump Organization charges to the Secret Service up to a whopping $628,000. That means that well over half a million dollars has gone from taxpayers to the president’s family business just because he felt like visiting a Trump-branded property while in office.

Those newly revealed costs include “nearly $87,000 over 147 days to rent a cottage at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.” and “$396.15 on 135 nights of lodging at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club in Florida, for a previously unreported total of about $53,000 at that resort,” all of which transpired in 2017 and 2018.

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, commented:

‘Trump treats the presidency as a self-enrichment scheme. Slowly, we’re beginning to learn the size of the bill to taxpayers. It should be crystal clear that this particular ploy is by no means ‘saving a fortune’ as Eric Trump preposterously claimed.’

Indeed – in an October 2019 interview with Eric Trump, the president’s son claimed that his family ownership of a slew of properties around the U.S. was supposedly saving the government money because — supposedly — they were charging very low rates. As it turns out, that’s not true.

The Bedminster bill alone includes “three days in 2017, when taxpayers were charged $1,666 per day,” which is outlandish. Eric Trump had falsely claimed that “we charge them, like $50” a night for Secret Service and other government stays at Trump properties. In reality, the rental rate for the Bedminster arrangement alone, which worked out to up to $17,000 per month for rent for a cottage in the golf resort’s compound, is significantly higher than a comparable rate for properties that are even right nearby, which go for comparably as low as just $3,400 per month on average.

The Trump team claimed to The Washington Post that the Trump Organization is legally required to charge some kind of fee when renting out the facilities to government agencies, but it’s unclear what legislation they may have been actually referring to. Perhaps the retort was their twisted take on the legal prohibition against the Trump Organization charging significantly more than a perceptible market rate and thereby getting even more cash out of the government.

Public Citizen, for their part, got the newly released documents through a Freedom of Information Act request-turned-court battle.

Ironically, just the other day, Eric Trump proudly touted the donation of his father’s latest government salary check back into the government.

Eric tweeted:

‘Since this will never get reported by the media, I wanted to share a copy of this check. @realDonaldTrump is once again donating his salary back to the United States Government — This quarter, it will be donated to @HHSGov to confront, contain, and combat #Coronavirus.’

That’s all fine and dandy — but Trump seems to be making that money right back from the government on the side.