March 9, 2018

No Matter What Trump Organization Paid to Treasury, Core Problem Remains Unsolved

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: The Trump Organization today reported that the company donated $151,470 to the U.S. Treasury, the amount it says it earned in profits from foreign government at hotels and similar businesses.

The Trump Organization could have paid 10 times more, or 100 times more, and we would equally have no way of assessing whether they properly applied their flawed accounting calculation to determine their profits from foreign governments.

We know that the calculation excludes infrastructure, tax, intellectual property and other benefits that foreign governments are showering on the Trump Organization and its affiliated operations.

We know that the Trump Organization counts only foreign government profits where a property earned profits overall, irrespective of the profits it earned from actual foreign government spending.

And we know that even paying back the entirety of profits wouldn’t solve the core problem: Foreign governments can and are patronizing Trump properties and conferring benefits on the Trump Organization in order to curry favor with the United States. President Donald Trump is a man who appreciates grand gestures, so the effect is hardly diminished even if the family business pays some portion of earnings back to the U.S. Treasury.