Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday asked all cabinet secretaries for documents on federal funds used to pay for products or services from businesses owned by President Donald Trump.
“The American people deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent, including the amount of federal funds that are being provided to private businesses owned by the President and the purposes of these expenditures,” the members wrote in the letters. “The President’s financial entanglements make it impossible to know whether he is making his decisions in the public interest or to benefit to him or his family members financially. The President’s continued ownership of private businesses also places federal employees in compromised positions when they work on official activities that potentially create financial benefits for the President or his family members.”
The Democrats cited several news reports indicating that the federal government has spent money at Trump-owned businesses, including a July Washington Post report that the State Department spent more than $15,000 on rooms at a Trump-branded hotel in Vancouver while members of the Trump family were there for the hotel’s grand opening.
The letters also note that the President has an ownership stake in Starrett City Associates, L.P., a property that receives federal housing subsidies.
Trump himself has visited his properties ,including his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida and his golf club in New Jersey, several times since taking office. The Democratic members noted that the federal government has not disclosed the funds spent on these trips and that it is not clear “whether the President benefited financially from these expenditures.”
Trump did not divest from his companies, raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest while he is in office. The President faces multiple lawsuits over his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.: Two lawsuits charge that Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which states that the president cannot accept payments from a foreign government, while another lawsuit charges that Trump’s D.C. hotel unfairly pulls competition from local venues.
Read the letter Democrats sent to cabinet leaders below: