Is it legal for US taxpayers to foot the bill for government officials to stay at Trump hotels?
Is it a violation to use US taxpayer dollars to pay for Vice President Mike Pence to stay at a resort owned by President Donald Trump? Is it a conflict of interest? Is it unethical? Is it breaking the law?
An investigation has been launched by US House Democrats regarding VP Pence’s stay this week at Trump’s Doonbeg resort in Ireland.
Requests have been made by Democrats from the White House, Pence’s office, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Trump Organization regarding the use of taxpayers’ dollars for such a stay. The Dems say that this is a potential violation of the US Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
This clause prohibits American office-holders, including the president, from personally profiting from foreign government and has been a topic of discussion since Trump took office.
How much profit are we talking about? In a letter to Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short, it states: “President Trump stayed at his property in Doonbeg in June, which cost the American people an estimated $3.6 million.”
The Committee is also requesting information on whether these expenses may have been a violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. This clause states that the US President may receive a salary for serving in office, however, he shall not receive any other emolument from the United States.
Add to this apparent fancy for using his own hotel properties for government purposes the fact that Trump said at last month’s G7 in France that his Trump National Doral Miami Golf Resort would be the best place to host the 2020 summit. Yet another opportunity for the President to profit when the US government pays the bill for the event should it be held there.
The Democrats said in a letter to the director of the Secret Service and to the White House: “The Doral situation reflects perhaps the first publicly known instance in which foreign governments would be required to spend foreign government funds at President Trump’s private businesses in order to engage in official diplomatic negotiations and meetings with the United States.”