Trump Hotel Declared ‘Epicenter’ Of Trump Corruption According To Ethics Watchdog

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When Donald Trump first announced his intentions to run for the presidency of the United States, he and his supporters insisted that a successful businessman would be the ideal choice for a U.S. leader. There were two problems with that theory: Trump is not a “successful” businessman and his propensity for shady business practices were sure to leak over into his time at the White House.

In fact, Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, says that his Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. was not thoroughly investigated during his presidency, if at all. Book binder says that “the controls allegedly in place to limit potential corruption failed completely,” and Trump’s failing hotel became the center for his corruption in regards to his violations of the emoluments clause while in office.

‘According to lawmakers, GSA never even checked whether Trump was complying with the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, which prohibit a president from taking payments or benefits from foreign and domestic governments. It never looked into whether his reimbursements to the government for foreign government expenditures at the hotel were accurate or whether loans for the hotel created conflicts of interest. Trump political appointees at GSA even made decisions affecting the financial interest of Trump’s properties, which was predictable, with Trump essentially serving as landlord and tenant.’

As a result of this failure of protections, Trump’s favor could be curried by anyone who went to the Washington, D.C. hotel with enough money to influence the president. While Trump’s first impeachment made clear that Trump often chose a path that would help him politically rather than one that adhered to the law, his violations of the emoluments clause also showed that he would act out of the prioritization of his own economic interests rather than the American people’s.

‘On issues from taxes to environmental regulation to foreign policy, we never knew whether Trump’s administration was making decisions in the interest of the American people or in the interest of his bottom line. When Trump refused to take any action after Saudi Arabian agents brutally murdered a U.S.-based journalist, did it have anything to do with Saudi officials paying thousands for Trump hotel rooms? When the Trump administration gave unprecedented business to private prison companies, was it because they held events at his properties?’

The answer, Bookbinder says, is for Congress to tighten protections and prevent any future Donald Trumps who might land in the White House from being able to do the same. While a few of Trump’s other corrupt acts, including his business practices and attempt to overthrow a democratic election, can still be pursued and potentially prosecuted, his grift went unsupervised and can only be prevented in the future.

‘The GSA turned a blind eye to the obvious problems in a contract it oversaw. Perhaps the watchdogs were too scared to cross their politically appointed managers or the president himself. They fell down on the job. They should have done better, but it’s a lot to ask bureaucrats to stand up against the weight of the leaders they report to.’