Trump Organization reveals $151,000 in profits from foreign government patrons
Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Trump Organization revealed Friday it donated more than $150,000 in profits from foreign government patrons to the United States Treasury after last week declining to do so.
“On February 22, 2018, The Trump Organization made a voluntary donation of $151,470 to the United States Treasury,” George Sorial, executive vice president and chief compliance counsel for the Trump Organization said in a statement.
Sorial said it was a “voluntary” donation that “fulfills our pledge to donate profits from foreign government patronage at our hotels and similar business during President Trump’s term in office.”
Government ethics watchdogs have questioned the donation pledge, saying the methodology used does not require the Trump Organization to account for revenues earned from foreign-government patrons of unprofitable Trump properties.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a letter Thursday to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that the foreign government profits could be a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause – which prohibits the president from taking gifts from foreign governments without permission from Congress.
When the money was first sent to the Treasury Department last week, neither Treasury nor the Trump Organization would confirm the amount. The Daily Mail was first to report the figure Friday.
The money represents profits earned from Trump’s inauguration day to Dec. 31, 2017.
Before his inauguration, when he announced he would hand his company over to his two sons, Eric and Don Jr., then President-elect Donald Trump pledged to donate all profits from foreign government patrons at his hotels and other properties.
For example, foreign dignitaries have been seen at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., not far down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. The hotel has hosted several high-spending foreign clients.
The international public relations firm MSL Group Americas, whose D.C. office has represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Bahrain Embassy and others, spent more than $270,000 at the Trump Hotel in D.C. Much of that was for work on behalf of their Saudi Arabia employers during the period between Oct. 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, according to a review of the filings foreign groups and their lobbyists make with the U.S. Justice Department.
Bahrain had its 2017 National Day party at the hotel as well, but no public filings disclose how much the embassy spent on the event. Last year the American-Turkish Council held its annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations at the Trump International Hotel, too – but no public filing indicates how much was spent.
Trump did not fully divest from his financial holdings, breaking with the precedent set by previous presidents to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
The Trump Justice Department has argued in a previous lawsuit about Trump’s continued ownership of his business empire that his earnings does not represent a constitutional violation of his responsibilities as president.
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