Trump’s DC hotel was ‘epicenter’ of corruption, Watchdog Head says
- Former President Trump’s DC hotel was an “epicenter” of corruption, watch group chief said in a report. NBC News editorial.
- Anyone looking to “do favors” could walk into the hotel and “flash money,” he wrote.
- The comments follow a damning report on the GSA’s oversight of Trump’s trade relations.
Former President Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington, DC, was an “epicenter” of corruption, according to the head of an ethics watchdog.
âAnyone looking to curry favor with his administration could just go to his eponymous hotel a few blocks from the White House and instant cash,â said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics , in one article published by NBC News.
The bookbinder’s assessment follows a damning finding Report of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, published Wednesday.
He found that the agency overseeing the Trump Organization’s lease “washed its hands of responsibility” in investigating ethical issues and whether constitutional emolument clauses were being followed, NBC reported News.
Emoluments clauses prohibit a sitting president from receiving payments or benefits from foreign and domestic governments to protect against undue influence.
The report found that the General Services Administration (GSA) had failed to track payments from foreign governments to the hotel, according to NBC News.
Representatives of at least 22 foreign governments spent money on Trump’s properties, including the hotel in Washington, during the early years of his presidency, the outlet said. And there was “no checks and balances” over whether the hotel’s calculations regarding those payments were fair and accurate, the committee said, according to NBC News.
The report also found that the GSA had not sought to identify the origins of the more than $ 75 million in loans made by Trump and his family to the hotel, and “whether the ultimate source of the funding posed constitutional problems.” , according to the report.
He noted that Trump’s refusal to cede his financial interests in the hotel was “problematic” and created “multiple” conflicts of interest during his presidency, according to NBC News. The report found that political appointments to the GSA made real estate decisions that “impacted the president’s personal properties,” NBC News reported.
Bookbinder, in his op-ed, explained why he thinks this is important. “On issues ranging from taxes to environmental regulations to foreign policy, we have never known whether the Trump administration is making decisions in the best interests of the American people or in the interests of its bottom line,” he wrote.