Dem proposes HOTEL Act to ban federal officials from staying at Trump properties

Dem proposes HOTEL Act to ban federal officials from staying at Trump properties
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

A Democratic lawmaker in the House has introduced a bill aimed at preventing federal officials from spending public money at any of President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE's hotel properties.

Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse panel investigating decision to resume federal executions Pelosi, allies seek to keep gun debate focused on McConnell Pelosi backers feel vindicated after tumultuous stretch MORE (D-Md.) said the purpose of the bill, the Heightened Oversight of Travel, Eating and Lodging (HOTEL) Act, is to "help stop President Donald Trump’s ongoing violations of the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause."

The HOTEL Act would bar government agencies from using public funds at any properties owned by the president, his family or the head of any other an executive agency.

“If the President does not have enough respect for the Constitution to refuse extra government payments beyond his official salary then we must cut the unlawful payments off at the source," Raskin said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump has frequently faced criticism from Democrats and others over his decision to place his business empire in a private trust rather than sell his companies upon taking office last year.

Critics have raised concerns over visits to Trump's properties by foreign officials and government employees on official business, and whether the president could be profiting off his position.

In addition, the Trump Organization has also billed the government for extra security necessary for Trump's visits to its properties. Last year, it was reported that Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort billed the Secret Service for more than $60,000 over the course of several months.

Raskin echoed critics' concerns about Trump profiting off his company despite the Constitution's emoluments clause, which bars federal officials from receiving any profit or gift from foreign governments.

“The government may not be turned into a money-making operation for the President and his family," the freshman Maryland Democrat said.

"We must stop all executive branch officials, all of whom report ultimately to President Trump, from spending public dollars at Trump hotels, restaurants, golf courses and other businesses. This is a ludicrous situation.”

The Trump Organization said earlier this month that it donated $151,470 in profits earned from foreign government patronage at its hotels and other businesses in 2017 to the U.S. Treasury.