The dogged reporting by the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold into impeached president Donald Trump’s finances and the degree to which the Trump Organization continues to obscenely exploit the office for profit has triggered another House investigation. Last week Fahrenthold reported that the Secret Service has been paying as much as $650 per night for rooms at Trump properties, leading the House Oversight Committee to demand a full accounting of those payments from the Secret Service.
Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Jackie Speier have asked the Secret Service for complete records of the agency’s payments to the Trump organization as well as copies of the contracts the agency has with Trump. “The payment of rates far above government rates and the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency raise serious concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars and raise questions about government spending at other Trump properties,” they wrote to the Secret Service. “These concerns are heightened since President Trump has spent a third of his presidency at his private clubs and hotels [zing], and his Treasury Secretary has attempted to shield Secret Service expenses from public scrutiny.”
Eric Trump, who is now supposedly in charge of his dad’s company, has said that government officials, including Secret Service are at most charged the cost of housekeeping, but basically stay for free, estimating the charge per room per night at “50 bucks.” The Trump Organization released a statement to the Post saying only “We charge the U.S. Government simple cost and make zero profit.” But hotel industry experts tell Fahrenthold that the most any luxury resort could charge for cost is $80 per night, maybe $100 if they really stretched for the very most expensive shampoos and soaps and such. All the experts in the industry agreed that it is impossible that servicing one hotel room one time could cost as much as $650. “No. That’s not possible,” Diego Bufquin, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management told Fahrenthold.
Maloney and Speier have asked for the records by February 25. They point out that the agency is legally required to report its spending on protecting presidential residences to Congress every six months, but thus far in the Trump administration, it’s only sent three reports. They also remind the agency that the committee is currently investigating “taxpayer spending at the President’s businesses, including the Department of Defense’s expenditure of nearly $200,000 at President Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland between August 2017 and July 2019.”