House oversight Secret Service payments, demand documentation.
Members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday asked the Secret Service to disclose the scope of its payments to President Trump’s company while protecting him as he spends time at his properties.
The request for documents and information came after The Washington Post reported last week that the Trump Organization has charged the Secret Service — and thereby taxpayers — for rooms used by agents at rates as high at $650 per night, despite claims that it only charges minimal fees.
In a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) asked for records of payments to Trump properties and any contracts between the Secret Service and the Trump Organization.
“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 in the letter. “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.”
They pointed to comments last year from Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons who oversees the Trump Organization’s daily operations, in an interview with Yahoo Finance that the Trump Organization offers the government steep discounts on its typical rates.
“So everywhere that he goes, if he stays at one of his places, the government actually spends, meaning it saves a fortune because if they were to go to a hotel across the street, they’d be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know we charge them, like $50,” Eric Trump said.
But The Washington Post found that the Secret Service was charged up to $650 a night for rooms at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, as well as $17,000 a month to use a cottage at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
The Secret Service was charged the $650 rate at Mar-a-Lago dozens of times in 2017 and $396.15 dozens of other times in 2018.
A tally kept by The Washington Post shows that Trump has spent about a third of his presidency at his private properties.