Secret Service records indicate that the agency paid more than $1.4 million to Trump properties since Donald Trump took over as president.
The records were released by the House Oversight Committee. The Trump Organization charged the Secret Service up to $1,185 per night for hotel rooms, used by employees to protect Trump and his family, documents released on Monday showed.
The $1.4 million figure was incomplete as it did not include payments to Trump’s foreign properties, and because records stopped in Sept. 2021, the committee reportedly said.
In 2019, Eric Trump, who ran the Trump Organization while his father was in office, was reported to have said the family business only charged “like $50” for hotel rooms during presidential visits.
Records from the committee indicate that Trump and his family used the Secret Service as a “captive customer” for their business by visiting their properties hundreds of times and charging the government more than its usual spending limits, noted a news report.
Eric Trump said Monday that the Trump Organization “would have been substantially better off if hospitality services were sold to full-paying guests,” the report said. He maintained that all the government agencies were treated at discounted rates at Trump properties.
The Chair of the oversight committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said the panel would continue to investigate and that this is “just the tip of the iceberg”.
Maloney said records obtained by the committee indicate the Secret Service made at least 669 payments to Trump’s company.
She wrote to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle: “The exorbitant rates charged to the Secret Service and agents’ frequent stays at Trump-owned properties raise significant concerns about the former President’s self-dealing and may have resulted in a taxpayer-funded windfall for former President Trump’s struggling businesses.”
A group of congressional Democrats, the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, and others filed separate lawsuits alleging that Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel violated the Constitution’s emolument provision due to the then-continuous president’s financial stake in his firm.
The emolument clause says that the president is not permitted to accept a gift, title, or other emolument from a foreign state or domestic officials without first receiving legislative consent.
Since Trump had left office by late January 2021, the Supreme Court dismissed the state officials’ cases as moot.
In a reported incident, a special agent once asked for approval to pay $225 per night, and not the government’s rate of $172 for lodging during a Trump overnight stay in mid-July 2017. It was justified by saying: “The entire National Capital Region is sold out in to Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland during the week of July 9-13 due to the Microsoft Convention purchasing 20,000+ rooms.”
Last month, New York’s attorney general sued Trump, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization for $250 million, citing decade-long fraud.
Produced in association with Benzinga.
(Additional reporting provided by Hamraz Ahmad)
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