Trump hotels made even more profit from foreign governments last year


The Trump Organization admitted to collecting more money from foreign governments than they did last year.

On Monday, the Trump Organization admitted that foreign governments funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through various Trump properties over the course of 2018 — and their profits from foreign governments increased from just over $150,000 in 2017 to almost $200,000 in 2018.

The revelation came as the Trump Organization wrote a $191,538 check to the U.S. Treasury, claiming in a statement that this so-called voluntary donation fulfills a Trump organization pledge to donate profits from foreign governments related to hotel stays while his father is in the White House.

But their process is shrouded in secrecy. The Trump Organization did not release any information about how it determines profits, who stayed at their hotels, or how various foreign governments spent money at their properties.

Investigative journalists have uncovered some of the foreign governments padding the Trumps' bottom line over the past several years. They include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and others.

From the beginning, Trump has ignored the advice of ethics professionals to divest his business interests or set up a blind trust. He stands to profit from his businesses around the world, and those seeking to influence him know this.

A 2018 report from Public Citizen notes foreign governments and domestic groups are "effectively paying tribute" to Trump by frequenting his businesses.

According to the Constitution, the president is not allowed to accept gifts or payments from foreign governments, and numerous organizations have filed lawsuits over Trump's blatant, unethical profiteering.

Last year, Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), called the whole charade "wholly unacceptable."

"There is no transparency as to how much money they donated, how they arrived at that number, how profits were calculated, or where the profits came from," Bookbinder said at the time. "There is no independent oversight or accountability; we're being asked to take their word for it."

In 2017, the USA Today editorial board warned of Trump elevating "influence peddling to a whole new level." Since then, Trump has done nothing to reduce fears.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.