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Trump Organization’s donation to U.S. Treasury shows drop in foreign government profits

The donation is aimed at addressing concerns over the president’s profiting from foreign stays at his hotels

Eric Trump, son of President Donald Trump and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, at a campaign rally in North Carolina. (Al Drago/Bloomberg News)
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President Trump’s company said it donated $105,465 to the U.S. Treasury last month, an amount that it said reflects its profits from foreign-government bookings at its hotels last year.

The number is down sharply from its 2019 donation of about $191,000, showing a drop in spending by foreign governments at Trump hotels. This is the third year that the company, which Trump still owns, has made such a donation, part of an effort to avoid violating the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars a president from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments.

Trump’s son Eric Trump, who is running the company with his brother Donald Trump Jr., announced the donation last month on social media.

“While not legally required, for the third year in a row, we are honored to fulfill my father’s generous pledge to donate profits from foreign government patronage at our properties, back to the United States Government,” he wrote.

Newly obtained documents show $157,000 in additional payments by the Secret Service to Trump properties

The Trump Organization does not disclose the foreign clients that booked business at the company’s hotels but says it does not seek that business and tries to avoid it because the company donates the profits. The company donated $191,538 last year, reflecting 2018 profits, and $151,470 the year prior, reflecting 2017 profits.

Eric Trump issued a statement Monday saying that income from foreign governments makes up a very small portion of the company’s hotel business, despite Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and other countries footing the bills for large events at Trump’s properties since he became president.

“Of our hotels that had foreign government patronage in 2019, this business represented less than half of one percent (<.0048%) of those properties aggregate revenue,” Trump said in the statement. “We work very hard to discourage this business and have done a phenomenal job doing so.”

Individual members of Congress barred from suing President Trump over business dealings

Justice Department attorneys and Trump’s personal lawyers have argued that market-rate transactions do not qualify as gifts under the provision and that the president hasn’t violated the Constitution. In three lawsuits filed in federal court, plaintiffs argued that the president’s company violates the Constitution by doing business with government customers.

One of the cases, brought by 200 Democrats in Congress, was unanimously dismissed last month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which ruled that individual members of Congress cannot sue the president.

Another case, brought by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland, centers solely on Trump’s D.C. hotel. The Trump Organization is trying to sell the lease to that hotel, which the plaintiffs say would end that case so long as the buyer isn’t a state or foreign government. The company set a Jan. 23 deadline for initial bids.

It is unclear how many companies are pursuing the lease, which Trump signed with the federal government before his election. One bidder is Virginia business executive Sheila Johnson, owner of luxury resorts and part-owner of the Washington Mystics WNBA team.

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