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Trump Org May Have Broken Law with Golf Course Markers Featuring Presidential Seal

by Countable | 3.5.18

What’s the story?

  • The Trump Organization ordered tee markers emblazoned with the presidential seal.

  • Federal law prohibits the seal from being used for anything other than official government business.

Who created the markers?

  • Eagle Sign and Design, a metalworking and sign company with offices in Indiana and Kentucky, told ProPublica that it received an order to create dozens of 12-inch replicas of the presidential seal to be used as tee markers at Trump golf courses.

  • "We made the design, and the client confirmed the design," Joseph E. Bates, who owns the company, told the outlet. He declined to name the client.

  • ProPublica, however, reviewed an order form for the markers that listed the customer as "Trump International."

  • Eagle Sign and Design posted a photo of the markers on Facebook with the caption "Trump International Golf Course" in an album named “Presidential Seal.” The album had since been deleted.

What’s the punishment for using the seal?

  • The law prohibits using the seal "or any facsimile thereof" to “convey a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof.”

  • Both the entity that displays the seal, and its manufacturer, can be charged with a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in prison.

What’s the Trump administration saying?

  • As ProPublica explained, "The Department of Justice declined to comment on whether it was aware the seal had been used by entities outside the government. The White House and the Trump Organization did not respond to request for comment."

What do you think?

Should the presidential seal be protected? Or should Trump be able to use the seal at his private golf courses? Should Congress or the Justice Department investigate the matter? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: liveslow / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(263)
  • Wendy
    03/05/2018
    ···

    Not particularly surprising since the main reason Trump ran for President was to enrich himself and his family. It would be hilarious if this is what brings him down. But, of course, it won’t. This will be lost amongst the hundreds of laws that are being stretched and broken each day of this administration.

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  • Chickie
    03/05/2018
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    Further proof that #45 is clueless about being a leader. Further proof that #45 considers himself above the law. Further proof #45 is a bozo.

    Like (161)
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  • Troy
    03/05/2018
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    Trump is not allowed to use the Presidential seal for his business interests. It is imperative that Congress make sure the office of President is not abused.

    Like (120)
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  • Hillary
    03/05/2018
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    If anyone else breaks the law we don’t get the luxury of claiming ignorance. In fact, I’m sure I’ve read the quote that ignorance of the law does not make a defense.

    Like (90)
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  • Scott
    03/05/2018
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    Of course they broke law....been doing so since day one! IMPEACH now!!!!! Save our democracy!!!!!

    Like (82)
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  • Steven
    03/05/2018
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    Trumps an idiot.

    Like (54)
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  • LynnNoelle
    03/05/2018
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    I'm not sure if President Trump thinks he is above the law or what? If it's illegal for him to use and capitalize on the Presidential seal for his own personal business purposes and profit, he should be called on the carpet for it, just like any ordinary citizen would be. He is not above the law!!!!!!!!

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  • Peggy
    03/06/2018
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    Enough is enough - no one especially DJT is supposed to be making money off the presidency. This administration is a disgrace.

    Like (47)
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  • NoHedges
    03/05/2018
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    The only way we will see an end to this ridiculous agenda of ignorance by our illustrious tweeter in chief and his band of merry men is by rebalancing Congress. The soonest opportunity to do that, is by doing everything in our power to get Conor Lamb elected in PA-18.

    Like (45)
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  • Joanne
    03/05/2018
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    This situation is a joke just like trump. He should be charged to the fullest extent of the law but we all know that won’t happen. VOTE

    Like (38)
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  • Jennifer
    03/06/2018
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    Countable, your bias is showing, AGAIN...as news breaks repeatedly about 1) Obama Admin being warned about Russian meddling, over and over, but played it down because they believed HRC had election locked up; 2) had 120 Million to spend to fight cyber attack’s on election—I’m assuming thwarting fake FB adds would count, but spent zero; 3) and various other stories....why are the topics always biased against Republicans, Conservatives and Pres. Trump? This pablum-based silly story is a perfect example!

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  • Countryfirst
    03/06/2018
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    DICTATOR #45 has broken SO many laws on a far grander scale than his stupid golf courses that the Repukicans should act on..nepotism laws galore..collusion...and a total failure to protect this country..IMPEACH THE MORON IN CHARGE BEFORE OUR COUNTRY IS COMPLETELY RUINED AND WE HAVE TO LEARN TO SPEAK RUSSIAN!! HEIL TRUMP!!!!!

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  • Lori
    03/06/2018
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    The presidential seal on Trump’s golf course should be taken seriously. It’s another instance of Trump using his position for profit and he should pay the penalty. If only it were an impeachable offense.

    Like (22)
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  • Dennis
    03/05/2018
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    “Lock em up”. This is illegal and unethical. How can anyone be so stupid as to reduce the Seal of the Presidency to a golf marker? They should immediately be destroyed or used as clay pigeons for assault rifles to practice shooting at (not really in favor of the latter).

    Like (21)
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  • NotAmused
    03/06/2018
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    Add it to the long list of inappropriate and illegal shenanigans of this administration. Don’t let the most minor infractions distract from the big picture, but do include it when it’s time to charge these self-serving criminals.

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  • Bruno
    03/05/2018
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    Most of us understand government service, military or civil service, but these 1%’s think the rules don’t apply to them..they were created for a reason...WH staff does not comprehend, the chief don’t care as long as his base and enablers keep him fed. VOTE!

    Like (19)
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  • M
    03/06/2018
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    Again the Trump organization tries to use the office of President to enrich his businesses. He will continue to blatantly ignore and violate ethics rules as long as Congress allows him to get away with it. Sad!

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  • Mike
    03/06/2018
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    Trump doesn’t think or care that there are laws, he will break, bend or ignore anything that gets in his way of making money. Simple as that.

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  • Judith
    03/06/2018
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    Trump? Break the law? Shocking. Republicans say (in voice of Sargent Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes): “I see nuuhthing! I know nuuhthing!”

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  • Marc
    03/05/2018
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    Tax his properties in order to retrieve money he is making off his office.

    Like (13)
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