Corruption: 200 entities funneled money to Trump
A New York Times analysis of tax records showed that more than 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments have funneled millions of dollars to President Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from the president and his administration. Nearly a quarter of the entities have not been previously reported. Sixty patrons who promoted specific interests to the Trump administration spent almost $12 million on expenses associated with the Trump Organization during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. The Times reported nearly all of these customers saw their interests move forward.
In interviews with almost 250 business executives, club members, lobbyists, Trump property employees and current administration officials, sources detailed to the Times how Trump conducted business and interacted with customers who were seeking help from the administration.
The newspaper also used Trump’s tax return data, lobbying disclosures, Freedom of Information Act requests and other public records to construct a database of groups, companies and governments that had business before the administration and spent money at Trump properties.
The Trump Organization’s customers included foreign politicians, Florida barons, a Chinese billionaire, a Serbian prince, clean-energy advocates, petroleum industry leaders, small-government advocates and contractors.
The newspaper noted that some of the president’s customers did not see their interests fully fulfilled but noted “whether they won or lost, Mr. Trump benefited financially.”
More than 70 advocacy groups, businesses and foreign governments held events at Trump Organization properties that previously were at different locations or developed new events to be hosted at the properties. Religious organizations also participated by throwing prayer meetings, banquets and tours on Trump properties.
At least two dozen patrons who reserved events for 2017 and 2018 at Trump properties had interests involving the administration. The analysis also found that more than 100 companies that sought action from the federal government spent money at Trump properties.
Many of the patrons to Trump's businesses told the Times that any favorable outcome they received from the administration was incidental to their use of Trump's properties.
The Times noted that the tax records do not include all payments to Trump properties, but additional data is tracked by the town of Palm Beach, Fla., where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club is located. Organizations that had special interests reported spending $3.3 million on events at the club from 2017 to now.
The records and membership rosters for Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., also show how much money his business was making once he sat in the White House.
Being a member of his clubs also allowed leaders to get time with the president and sometimes his support, as he offered ambassadorships to five members and chose others for advisory roles in his administration.
White House spokesperson Judd Deere told in a statement that the Times report was “just more fake news.”
“This is yet another politically-motivated hit piece inaccurately smearing a standard business deal,” he said. “During his years as a successful businessman, Donald Trump was long-time partners with Phil Ruffin and earned whatever payments he received. This is the same 2016 playbook that the American people rejected resoundingly.”
Deere told the Times in a statement that the president “turned over the day-to-day responsibilities” of the Trump Organization to his two adult sons.
Eric Trump defended his father's business dealings in response a New York Times article published on Saturday that unveiled reported White House favoritism toward hundreds of companies, lobbying groups and foreign leaders who stayed at President Trump's commercial properties.
The newspaper reported that the president used his political position to create new, more lucrative forms of income through his hotels and golf courses.
"We've lost a fortune. My father has lost a fortune running for president. He doesn't care. He wanted to do what was right. The last thing I can tell you Donald Trump needs in the world is this job. He wakes up in the morning, and he has to fight you, and he has to fight the entire media. He has to fight the Democrats, and he gets punched in the head every single day," Eric Trump told Jonathan Karl of ABC's "This Week."
Karl quickly interjected, asking for a response that directly addressed the claims made by the Times. Eric Trump instead called into question former Vice President Joe Biden's finances.
"Go Google Biden's house right now and tell me if you think that a person who's been in government for 47 years can afford that mansion on the water in Wilmington, Del.," he said. Both Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), released their tax returns right before the first presidential debate.
When Karl again asked him to address the article, Eric Trump said, "We're a hospitality company. We've got tens of millions of people staying at our properties every single year. The New York Times is absolute fake news. All they want to do is take down my father."
He then went on to claim that the media in the U.S. has become an "activist arm for the Democratic Party."
For months, activists and Democratic party officials have been telling Joe Biden supporters that the only answer to the question “can we trust the polls?” is to go out and vote for Biden, and then get others to do the same.
Dave Matthews is calling out President Trump for campaign rallies featuring largely mask-free crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying they show a "disregard" for the commander in chief's own supporters.
The Supreme Court on Thursday denied a Republican bid to block a mail-ballot extension in North Carolina, a day after rejecting a similar GOP effort in the key battleground state. The court's three most conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito — would have granted the Republican request. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the bench Tuesday, took no part in considering the case.
A Florida judge has resigned from a vote-counting board following a report that he donated multiple times to President Trump's campaign. Judge Brent Shore stepped down from his position as Duval County canvassing board chair Thursday, The Florida Times-Union reported.