The ranking member of the Senate committee responsible for regulating pensions on Monday urged the Office of Government Ethics to investigate whether President Donald Trump was violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, after a report that public pension funds in several states had paid millions to an investment fund that owns a Trump hotel.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, wrote to the Office of Government Ethics on Monday that, based on recent reporting, “President Trump may be profiting from the retirement plans of millions of our nation’s public servants,” in violation of the Constitution’s prohibition on “domestic emoluments.”
She urged the office, which itself is a vocal critic of Trump’s business and ethics arrangements, to investigate the report.
Murray’s letter cites a Reuters report from April 26 that found the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in New York City was owned by one of the Los Angeles-based CIM Group’s real estate funds. State- and city-run pension funds in at least seven states, Reuters reported, had paid millions of dollars quarterly to that fund, which in turn paid out millions of dollars to Trump International Hotels Management LLC, which operates and manages the hotel and is controlled by Trump’s business trust.
Reuters said it was the first reported instance of public pension fund investment in Trump-affiliated businesses.
“It therefore appears that public pension funds from several cities and states are paying millions of dollars to an investment fund, which in turn pays millions of dollars to Trump International Hotels Management LLC, from which President Trump profits,” Murray wrote, after summarizing Reuters’ reporting.
“This looks like exactly the type of monetary flow prohibited by the Constitution.”
Read Murray’s letter below: