Remember when Donald Trump promised that during his presidency any profits his hotels gain through business with foreign governments would be donated to the U.S. Treasury?
Apparently, he doesn’t.
NBC News is reporting today that Trump hotels are not tracking at least some of the payments they receive from foreign governments, much less transferring profits from that business to Uncle Sam.
The network quoted a pamphlet published by the Trump Organization acknowledging that it does not “attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity." Accounting for “business-related costs as specifically identifiable to a particular customer group is not practical,” the pamphlet asserts.
“The policy suggests that it is up to foreign governments, not Trump hotels, to determine whether they self-report their business,” NBC said.
The omission adds to the risk that Trump is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars him from receiving gifts or other payments from foreign governments. A nonprofit group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has filed suit over the issue.
Common Cause and other groups have pressed the president to clear himself of possible emoluments clause violations by creating a blind trust to manage his businesses or divesting himself of his holdings. The president has refused to do that or to release his tax returns, which would provide voters with a clearer picture of his holdings and potential conflicts of interest.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, argues in a letter released today that "Under the policy outlined in this pamphlet, foreign governments could provide prohibited emoluments to President Trump, for example through organizations such as RT, the propaganda arm of the Russian government.
"Those payments would not be tracked in any way and would be hidden from the American public," Cummings added.
Office: Common Cause National
Tags: Executive Ethics