Properties owned by former President Donald Trump overcharged the Secret Service for their lodging expenses, sometimes by as much as five times higher than the government-accepted rate, according to figures shared by the chair of the House Oversight Committee.
Taxpayers paid at least $1.4 million to the Trump Organization in known expenses for the federal agency, in order to protect Trump, his family members, and other dignitaries staying at Trump’s properties.
Much of what was spent could have cost less for the same amount of protection — in at least 40 instances, the Trump Organization billed the government well past the government rate. In one example, Secret Service agents were charged $1,185 per night for a stay at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., a cost that was five times higher than what the government rate (usually between $195 to $240 per night) is supposed to be for such protection services.
Details of the costs the agency incurred were laid out in a letter from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), who chairs the Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives.
“The exorbitant rates charged to the Secret Service and agents’ frequent stays at Trump-owned properties raise significant concerns about the former president’s self-dealing and may have resulted in a taxpayer-funded windfall for former President Trump’s struggling businesses,” she said in a correspondence with Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle.
Trump famously campaigned on being able to provide frugality to the White House, including in personal travel expenses. He claimed that he wouldn’t even have much time to spend at his properties — yet once he became president, he spent a good portion of his time at them, traveling to places he owned 547 times while president, according to an analysis from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
CREW had also reported that the Trump family’s documented vacation time was 12 times greater than his predecessor’s, former President Barack Obama, whom Trump frequently harangued for traveling too often while he was in the White House from 2009 to 2017.
Trump’s travels to his own properties accounted for many of the 3,700 instances of conflicts of interest Trump engaged in while he was president, according to CREW.
Trump also promised to return any income he earned while president back to the American people. Yet his earnings documented by Maloney in Secret Service stays at Trump properties alone showcase that any returns of the former president’s salary to taxpayers were almost completely wiped out.
Maloney’s figures, however, are incomplete estimations of how much the agency was billed by the former president. It’s much more likely a higher figure, with other estimates suggesting that at least $2 million was spent by the Secret Service to pay for stays and services while protecting Trump — and it all went directly to the Trump Organization.
Maloney’s figures also do not account for the charges Trump is still billing the agency for his continued Secret Service protection. One estimate shows that Trump is making close to $400 per night in charges to the agency since leaving office.
Trump’s family members who managed his company during his presidency lied about the degree to which they profited from it. Eric Trump, for example, when confronted with criticisms for costs being spent at Trump properties, played down the matter, and said that the costs were much lower than what they ended up being.
“If my father travels, [Secret Service agents] stay at our properties for free,” Eric Trump said in 2019. “So everywhere that he goes, if he stays at one of his places, the government…saves a fortune because if they were to go to a hotel across the street, they’d be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know we charge them, like $50.”
In reaction to the latest revelations disclosed by Maloney, CREW noted that Eric Trump’s past comments were knowingly false.
“We knew that” Eric Trump’s claim “was a lie,” the watchdog organization wrote in a tweet, “but we didn’t know just how wild of a lie it was until now.”
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