That event — sponsored by an arm of Romania’s government — came at a time when President Trump’s company is already facing scrutiny over its dealings with foreign governments.
In two pending lawsuits, plaintiffs have alleged that Trump is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clauses. Those are anti-corruption measures that bar presidents from taking improper payments from foreign governments or individual U.S. states.
So far, those cases have focused primarily on Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington.
Trump’s Chicago hotel, far from Washington’s embassy party circuit, has not faced the same scrutiny.
Attempts to reach Trifan, the consul general, were unsuccessful this week. The Romanian Embassy in Washington declined to comment.
Neither the Trump Organization nor the White House responded to requests for comment Tuesday.
Jordan Libowitz, of the ethics watchdog group, said this was the first time his researchers had found a foreign-government event there.
“It raises the question about whether the event [location] was switched to try to curry favor with the president,” Libowitz said.
“This is a cloud that hangs over all the Trump Organization’s business dealings,” Libowitz said, because foreign governments may patronize Trump’s businesses as a relatively cheap way to try to influence American foreign policy.
In Illinois, a spokeswoman for outgoing Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) said Madigan was “closely following” the two existing emoluments clause lawsuits. But the spokeswoman said Madigan had “not taken any action” to probe foreign-government spending at the Chicago hotel.