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Government paid for official’s stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club

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The government paid more than $1,000 for an official to stay at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, The Washington Post reports.

The payment of $1,092 was made to reserve two nights at the resort in March. The club charged the discount-free “rack rate” of $546 per night. 

The receipt for the payment was first obtained by the watchdog group Property of the People, which filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Coast Guard seeking records related to Trump’s properties. 

The official who stayed at the resort is not named on the invoice; a note at the top simply reads “National Security Council.”

This transaction is a concrete instance of a Trump-owned business profiting from taxpayer money, according to Property of the People, which argues the transaction is a violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. 

While President Trump revoked his direct stakes in his family companies upon taking office, he is still the recipient of a trust fund that receives the company’s profits. 

Trump has long faced scrutiny over his connections to his family businesses. Three lawsuits have been filed against him alleging that he has violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause by unfairly profiting from his connections to foreign leaders.  

His lawyers have denied those charges. The Post notes that Sheri Dillon, an attorney for Trump, has said financial transactions at “arm’s length,” such as money spent at his properties, would not amount to an “emolument,” meaning money gained from holding public office.

It is unclear if there have been other instances of a Trump business charging a government agency for its services. 

The White House has previously made clear that it would not charge for the use of Trump’s resorts for government affairs, including a February meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

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