Trump Organization says it donated profits from foreign governments

- Februari 26, 2018

President Donald Trump's business said Monday it donated profits received from foreign-government guests last year to the Treasury Department.

George Sorial, executive vice president and chief compliance counsel for the Trump Organization, said in a statement that on Feb. 22, the company "made a voluntary donation" of the profits it received from such guests between Jan. 20, 2017, the day of Trump's inauguration, and Dec. 31.

The company did not reveal the amount of the donation.

"Although not a legal requirement, this voluntary donation fulfills our pledge to donate profits from foreign government patronage at our hotels and similar business during President Trump’s term in office," Sorial said in the statement.

Trump still owns his business, although he said before taking office that he was handing off responsibility for running it to his sons.

Ethics experts have questioned whether foreign government leaders staying at Trump's properties, such as the Trump International Hotel in Washington, would qualify as inappropriate payments under the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. He faces lawsuits, including one from attorneys general in Maryland and Washington accusing him of accepting foreign gifts.

Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, called the announcement Monday "wholly inadequate."

"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," he said in a statement. "There is no independent oversight or accountability; we’re being asked to take their word for it.”

The Trump Organization last year said it would be "impractical" to identify all spending by foreign government guests in order to donate those profits. The organization gave the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee a copy of a pamphlet that was given to senior employees, which called for using hospitality industry standards to tally up a total dollar figure for profits earned from foreign governments.


 

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