Lobbyists’ memberships at Trump golf clubs raise red flags: report

Various lobbyists and contractors are members of President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE's golf courses, allowing them potentially close access to the president, according to a report from USA Today.

The report said at least 50 business executives whose companies have federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials hold memberships at Trump's clubs in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia.

Two-thirds of the executives, lobbyists and trade group officials have played a round of golf while the president was on the property, according to the report. 


The clubs happen to be among the properties Trump has visited the most during his presidency. 

While the memberships are not illegal, they have raised red flags for ethics experts.

“I think we’re all in new territory,” Walter Shaub told USA Today. “We never thought we’d see anyone push the outer limits in this way.”

Shaub recently resigned as director of the Office of Government Ethics after clashing over ethics issues with the White House.

The report shows that wealthy people with government interests have a chance to gain close access to the president and possibly influence policy while benefiting him personally.

The report noted members of Trump's club sometimes pay upfront fees that can exceed $100,000, plus thousands more in annual dues, all held in a trust for his benefit.

Trump's business interests have drawn criticism throughout his presidency.  

Democrats have claimed Trump's business empire has created conflicts of interest that violate the emoluments clause of the Constitution. 

The clause states that "no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state."

NBC News reported in May that the Trump Organization has not been tracking all payments made with foreign governments, despite his promise to donate all profits earned from foreign governments back to the U.S. Treasury.

The president handed over the reins of his business empire to his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump when he took office.

--This report was updated at 10:17 a.m.