Despite Pledge, Trump Org Isn’t Tracking All Profits From Foreign Governments

TRIPPLAAR KRISTOFFER/SIPA/SIPPL Sipa USA
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The Trump Organization is not actively working to identify all representatives of foreign governments who give money to its hotels and companies, despite President Donald Trump’s pledge to donate all such profits to the U.S. Treasury.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, raised concerns Wednesday about a pamphlet from the Trump Organization indicating that the company is leaving it up to customers to self-report whether they represent a foreign government. The Trump Organization sent the document to Cummings in response to a request he and House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) made in April for further details about Trump’s pledge to donate profits from payments made by officials of foreign governments.

According to the pamphlet, businesses that are part of the Trump Organization will not “attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity on foreign government business.”

The pamphlet states that to do so would “diminish the guest experience of our brand,” saying the Trump Organization will instead track “direct billings” made to foreign governments, contracted business dealings and checks or electronic payments from “reasonably identifiable” foreign governments.

The White House referred TPM’s request for comment to the Trump Organization, which did not immediately respond.

The policy detailed in the pamphlet dovetails with an NBC News report, citing unnamed sources, that employees of the Trump Organization are not asking whether business is coming from foreign governments.

The Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution prevents Trump from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State” without the consent of Congress.

Cummings criticized the Trump Organization’s policy in a Wednesday letter to George A. Sorial, the company’s chief compliance counsel.

“The deficiencies in this approach are obvious,” Cummings wrote. “Complying with the United States Constitution is not an optional exercise, but a requirement for serving as our nation’s President.”

“We have received and are in the process of reviewing the letter,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization told TPM in an email. “We take these matters seriously and are fully committed to complying with all of our legal and ethical obligations.”

Read the pamphlet below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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