Throughout President Donald Trump’s time in office, his family business has repeatedly charged the federal government steep fees for the usage of their properties by Secret Service agents who have been protecting members of the First Family. In total, according an ongoing tally from The Washington Post, $1.2 million and counting has changed hands from the government to the Trump Organization through this method. According to the Post, the Trump Organization has charged the federal government at least $238,000 for the space that Secret Service agents have used while protecting Trump’s adult children specifically, among overall expenditures.
These huge payments from the federal government to the Trump Organization represent a staggering level of conflict of interest on the part of the president, since his family is essentially profiting off his presidency. The Post notes that Eric Trump — one of the president’s adult sons, who has been co-handling executive control of the family business during his father’s presidency — has claimed that the Trump Organization is prohibited by law from letting the federal government use the business’s properties for free — but it’s unclear what law he is actually talking about, the publication adds.
At one point, Eric claimed in an interview that the Trump Organization charges the government only about $50 a room, per night, to use their properties — but there is not a single apparent piece of evidence confirming that the Trump Organization has ever actually charged this rate in its dealings with the federal government. In the latest batch of records that The Washington Post obtained, $175 per night was the cheapest room rate on record, although in “most” cases, the Secret Service redacted the part of the record revealing the room rate that the Trump Organization had charged, according to the publication.
Among Trump’s adult children and their respective families, Eric Trump and his wife, Lara — who’s a top official with the Trump campaign — seem to be the ones who have driven the highest total of federal payments to the family business. Eric and Lara’s tab totals about $151,000, and these payments have accumulated through means like Eric’s repeated trips to the Trump Organization’s overseas golf clubs, where he has led members of their U.S. golf clubs on tours. Meanwhile, a total of about $29,000 in government payments to Trump properties stem from Donald Trump Jr.’s travel to Trump properties — which has included “several” stops at the now-closed Trump Vancouver hotel while on the way to or from hunting trips.
More than $42,000 in government payments to Trump properties were issued in connection to travel by Ivanka Trump and her family, including a full 13 trips to the Trump Organization’s Bedminster, New Jersey golf club from mid-March to mid-June, which is when the bulk of nationwide calls for Americans to stay home to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus were in place. On March 29, Ivanka herself asked Americans to “please, please” stay home if they can. She didn’t follow her own advice, it seems. During the spring, the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service an average of $630 per night for their usage of a four-room cottage at Trump’s Bedminster property, which is higher (for an unknown reason) than an ordinary past rate of $567 per night.
These revelations emerged shortly after The New York Times revealed details of the president’s financial history, including that he apparently paid a mere $750 per year in personal income taxes during 2016 and 2017.