Washington, D.C. (Feb. 12, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Committee Member Jackie Speier sent a letter seeking documents from the Secret Service regarding disturbing reports of exorbitant charges at President Donald Trump’s private clubs and resorts, as well as the Administration’s failure to disclose the amount of taxpayer dollars being spent at these private proprieties.
“The payment of rates far above government rates and the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency raise serious concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars and raise questions about government spending at other Trump properties,” Maloney and Speier wrote. “These concerns are heightened since President Trump has spent a third of his presidency at his private clubs and hotels, and his Treasury Secretary has attempted to shield Secret Service expenses from public scrutiny.”
On February 7, 2020, the Washington Post reported that the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service rates as high as $650 per night, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and personal accounts.
At President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club alone, the Secret Service reportedly “was charged the $650 rate dozens of times in 2017, and a different rate, $396.15, dozens more times in 2018.”
The Trump Organization also charged the Secret Service $17,000 per month to use a three-bedroom cottage on President Trump’s property in Bedminster, New Jersey, “an unusually high rent for homes in that area.” This report detailed nearly $500,000 in payments by the Secret Service to the President’s companies during only a fraction of the President’s time in office.
A recent report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) that was requested by the late-Chairman Elijah E. Cummings and Congresswoman Speier raised similar concerns.
“Such steep spending of taxpayer funds stands in stark contrast to statements made by Trump Organization officials regarding how the President’s business charges the government,” Maloney and Speier wrote.
The Secret Service has not disclosed the full scope of its payments to the President’s businesses or its expenses for presidential travel to his own properties.
For the first year-and-a-half of the Trump presidency, the Secret Service failed to submit to the Committee semiannual reports on expenditures to protect the President that are required by law.
The three most recent reports do not account for certain properties, such as Mar-a-Lago, and they lack the level of granularity needed for the Committee to fulfill its responsibility to conduct effective oversight.
Maloney and Speier requested documents and information related to this inquiry by February 25, 2020.
Click here to read today’s letter.