Parade of Visitors Highlights Trump’s Conflicts of Interest, Self-Dealing, Influence-Peddling
WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 370 political candidates, foreign governments, corporations, religious groups, charities and other entities with interests at stake under a Trump presidency have held events at Trump properties since the 2016 election, a new Public Citizen report has found.
Public Citizen tracked news reports, social media and Federal Election Commission (FEC) records for expenditures and events at Trump businesses, including the Trump Doral golf resort in Florida, Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and Mar-A-Lago Club in Florida.
The 371 entities holding events and spending money at Trump businesses include:
- 192 political campaigns or political groups;
- 51 U.S. businesses or business groups;
- 41 conservative advocacy organizations;
- 28 foreign governments, political groups or officials;
- 16 charities;
- 16 religious groups;
- 12 state or local groups;
- Nine foreign businesses or groups; and
- Six police or fire organizations.
In some of the most ethically questionable business visits, T-Mobile CEO John Legere and other executives spent $195,000 at Trump International while trying to secure regulatory approvals from the federal government for a merger with Sprint. Under Trump-appointed leaders, the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission both approved the merger.
Foreign governments holding events and spending money at Trump properties include Azerbaijan, India, Kuwait, Turkey, Ukraine, Malaysia, Romania and Saudi Arabia.
Several members of Congress and affiliated political groups also are big spenders at Trump properties. Among members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.); the campaign of Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), who is the older brother of Vice President Mike Pence; U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have all stayed at Trump properties.
This report updates a previous Public Citizen analysis from mid-2018, which identified more than 200 spenders at Trump businesses. The updated report also examined FEC records of spending at Trump businesses after Nov. 8, 2016, and found:
- 192 political candidates or political groups have disclosed spending of a combined $8.3 million at Trump businesses since the 2016 election;
- Of those political candidates and groups, 30 spent more than $10,000 at Trump businesses, while 108 spent more than $1,000; and
- The largest political spender was Trump’s own presidential campaign, which spent nearly $3.8 million at Trump businesses, representing about 45% of total political spending at Trump properties.
“The unceasing parade of foreign governments, politicians and corporations holding events and spending their dollars at Trump’s properties has become normal in Trump’s America,” said Alan Zibel, research director of Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project. “That doesn’t make it right or legal.”
“Trump’s refusal to divest his business holdings has resulted in casual corruption and the everyday violation of the U.S. Constitution’s anti-corruption provisions,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.
Read the full report.