Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.
This month, The Washington Post detailed lots of previously undisclosed government spending at the president’s properties. For example, the Secret Service has paid $650 per night to stay at Mar-a-Lago, despite Eric Trump’s statement that his father’s company would provide rooms “for free — meaning, like, cost for housekeeping.”
The Post’s figures — adding up to $471,000 — are far from complete because government agencies have resisted disclosing their spending at Trump properties.
“He’s paying our money to himself,” the Post’s David Fahrenthold said in the latest episode of “Trump, Inc.” “There must be so much more we haven’t seen.”
While the president has visited his properties on nearly a third of his days since he took office, the Secret Service has not listed its spending on Trump properties in a public database of federal spending. And some of what has been disclosed has been misleading. The Post discovered that the nearly dozen payments listed as “Trump National Golf Club” were actually made to Mar-a-Lago, which is not a golf club.
The White House did not respond to the Post’s questions about the payments. The Secret Service said it always “balances operational security with judicious allocation of resources.” It did not explain why it hadn’t disclosed the spending in the government’s public database. And the Trump Organization said it’s not currently charging the Secret Service $650 per room per night.
There are still plenty of questions. For one: Why has the Secret Service spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., even on days when the president was not visiting?
Fahrenthold and his colleagues asked the government about that. They haven’t gotten an answer.