Jan. 16, 2018

Sixty-Four Trade Groups, Foreign Governments, Companies, Charities and Politicians Hold Events at Trump Properties, Public Citizen Finds

New Report Details How Those Who Seek to Influence Trump’s White House Are Spending Big Bucks at Trump Properties

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 60 trade groups, companies, religious groups, charities, foreign governments, interest groups and political candidates are spending money at President Donald Trump’s properties, a new Public Citizen report finds.

The report, “Presidency for Sale,” documents 64 instances in which Trump’s sprawling set of businesses has resulted in a unique set of conflicts that previously were unimaginable for the president of the United States. Those spending money at Trump hotels, golf courses, restaurants and real estate developments around the world include:

  • 35 political candidates or political organizations;
  • 16 trade or interest groups;
  • 4 charities, including one run by Trump's son Eric;
  • 4 foreign governments;
  • 3 religious groups;
  • 2 individual companies; and
  • 1 college football team.

“Donald Trump entered office with the most blatant and potentially corrupting conflicts of interest in the history of American politics, and things only got worse from there,” said Robert Weissman, Public Citizen’s president. “Business is booming at the Trump International Hotel in D.C., not because of the décor, but because corporations and foreign governments want to curry favor with the president.”

The information in this report comes from news stories as well as Federal Election Commission (FEC) records for political expenditures above $100 including events, food, lodging, rent and travel expenses at Trump properties. The full spreadsheet with sources is available here. Companies with major financial interests at stake with the federal government have been big users of Trump properties.

Corporate interests that have held or are planning to hold events at Trump-owned locations include the National Mining Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and GEO Group, a private prison company that benefited from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reversal of an Obama-era decision to phase out private prisons and held its annual leadership conference at the Trump National Doral golf resort in Florida.

GEO Group donated $225,000 to a super PAC supporting Trump, despite a federal ban on political donations by government contractors, according to a complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center.

Meanwhile, foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Kuwait haven't hesitated to book rooms and hold events at Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel, effectively paying tribute to Trump by frequenting his properties. U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) all have held fundraisers at Trump properties, and many more lawmakers have held smaller events.

Trump’s political organization also has spent substantial sums at Trump properties, with five Trump-affiliated groups spending nearly $750,000 at Trump properties in the first three quarters of 2017, according to a Public Citizen analysis of FEC data.

“Donald Trump is a man who is easily flattered,” said Alan Zibel, the report’s author and research director of Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project. “Corporations and foreign governments know the best way to get on his good side is to open up their wallets at one of Trump’s many businesses.”

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