In-Depth: Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), and Steve Cohen (D-TN) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to require a comprehensive accounting of how much Donald Trump and members of his family have profited from the Presidency by requiring a report on taxpayer expenditures to the Trump Organization and its affiliates in FY ’17 and ‘18, including Trump hotels, as well as an annual report moving forward on appropriated funds and regulatory actions which financially benefit the President, his businesses and those of his close family members. Rep. Gallego says:
“The American people are fed up with the rampant and unapologetic corruption in the Trump administration. Donald Trump and his family are lining their pockets with taxpayer dollars. We introduced the CORRUPT Act because Congress and the American people deserve full transparency about how Trump and his family are profiting from the presidency.”
Rep. Lawrence adds:
“Transparency, oversight, and accountability are essential elements to ensure that public servants are not benefitting from their official positions. For more than two years, the American people are left questioning how much President Trump, his family, and the Trump Organization have used the presidency for his own gain. The CORRUPT Act would provide the necessary oversight so the American people know just how much the President is using the federal government to increase his wealth at the expense of the American taxpayers.”
In this Congress, Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Ted Lieu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) also included this bill in the Restoring the Public Trust Act of 2019, which incorporates a number of pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening ethical standards in the federal government to prevent government corruption and ensure accountability for the American public. In a joint statement, the Members said of that bill:
“Trump and his administration have made a mockery of government ethics, demonstrating the weak spots in our current laws. He has normalized unethical behavior in a way that was once unthinkable, proving that we need stronger ethics laws. The damage that Trump has done to the public’s confidence in its government won’t be easy to fix but this bill ensures that those gaping holes in our anticorruption and ethics laws are addressed. In doing so, we will course correct our government to ensure it is working for the people, which is a key Democratic priority this Congress. The Restoring the Public Trust Act helps us do the critical work of rebuilding the public’s faith in government.”
Rep. Gallego explained this bill's inclusion in the Restoring the Public Trust Act of 2019: “My legislation will require the White House and every government agency to disclose how much taxpayer money is spent at the president’s businesses. The American people deserve a full accounting of how Trump is abusing his public office and profiting from the presidency.”
Last Congress, Rep. Gallego introduced this bill to require a comprehensive accounting of the extent to which the Trump family has benefitted from the administration’s actions:
“The American people are fed up with the endemic, unapologetic corruption in the Trump administration. We have no idea how much money has gone from the federal treasury directly into Donald Trump’s pockets. We have introduced the CORRUPT Act because Congress and the American people deserve a full and ongoing accounting of how Trump is profiting from the Presidency.”
This bill has six Democratic cosponsors in the 116th Congress. In the 115th Congress, it also had the support of six cosponsors, all of whom were Democrats, and didn't receive a committee vote.
Of Note: To date, millions in taxpayer dollars have gone to the Trump organization through federal employee stays at Trump hotels and federal agencies' rentals of space at Trump-owned properties. As examples:
- The GAO reported in January 2019 that just 4 of President Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago cost taxpayers more than $13 million, not including the salaries of government personnel traveling with him. President Trump has reportedly spent more than 220 days at Trump properties during his presidency – about 29% of his time as President.
- ProPublica found $16.1 million in political and taxpayer spending at Trump properties as of June 2018.
- ProPublica also discovered that the Secret Service paid $27,724 at the Trump golf course and resort in Doonbeg, Ireland in March 2017 to support Eric Trump’s travel there for business.
- Taxpayers paid $100,000 in hotels alone for a Trump brothers business trip in February 2017 for the development of Trump hotels in Uruguay. The government spends money on travel, hotels, and accommodations every time a member of the Trump family travels.
- USA Today estimated that from January – August 2017, the Secret Service spent $59,585 on golf cart rentals alone as part of the President’s trips to his own golf clubs.
- Taxpayers paid over $120K every day while Melania lived in Trump Tower in 2017 before moving to the White House. During that same time, $676,635 was spent on Air Force One flights for her to and from the White House and Mar-a-Lago.
- The State Department spent $15,000 at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver for its grand opening in February 2017, and event attended by three of Trump’s children.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: aluxum / iStock)