According to a report by the government watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, Donald Trump has spent nearly a third of his presidency visiting his business properties and the cost of those trips have been completely been at taxpayer expense.
CREW reports that there have been over 2,300 conflicts of interest resulting from Trump’s decision not to divest ownership of his global business empire upon entering the office. To create their study the group used social media, news reports, Freedom of Information Act responses and other sources of information to tally these instances. The nonprofit stated that it believes that there are even more conflicts of interest beyond what it has identified.
“This corrupt relationship between the Trump Organization and the White House leaves the American public in the dark about whether presidential decisions and policy are being made in the best interest of the country or in the best interest of the president’s own bottom line,” Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s executive director, told Newsweek.
The nonprofit reports that Trump visited his business properties 362 times at taxpayer expense since his inauguration back in 2017. So far in 2019, Trump has made 81 trips to his business properties.
“The number of days where President Trump has spent time at a Trump-branded property account for almost a third of the days he’s been president,” the report states.
CREW also reports that 111 foreign officials have made over 130 trips to Trump properties.
“Not only has President Trump continued to use the presidency to try to enrich himself, but he has also granted foreign governments and special interests the opportunity to purchase access to his administration by patronizing his businesses,” Bookbinder said.
The Trump Organization and related business have brought in an estimated $6 million from political groups in the past two and a half years. In 2019 so far political groups have spent $1 million by holding events at Trump’s business properties. According to Crew before Trump became president his empire never made more than $100,000 a year from political organizations.
Donald Trump has faced repeated accusations that he has violated the clause of the Constitution for mixing official duties with the Trump Organization.
The Washington Post reported back in June that his private business received $1.6 million from Republicans and various federal agencies. It is believed those funds are a result of Trump visiting and campaigning at his business properties and that the numbers are probably far more than the $1.6 million that has been reported.