Democrats on the House Oversight Committee want answers from the Secret Service about how much the agency has paid for accomodations at Donald Trump’s clubs and resorts.
“In a letter to the Secret Service, signed by chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and member Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), the committee asks for any records of payments to Trump properties, and copies of any contracts between the Secret Service and Trump clubs,” reports the Washington Post.
The inquiry was triggered by a Post report last week that revealed the Service was charged up to $650 per night for rooms at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and $17,000 a month for what’s described as a “cottage” at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, in New Jersey.
Such payments show that Trump “has an unprecedented — and largely hidden — business relationship with his own government,” the Post says.
The House committee’s letter says the eye-popping charges are “in stark contrast” to public statements by the president’s son Eric, who runs the Trump Organization.
Last year, Eric Trump told Yahoo that Secret Service agents “stay at our properties for free — meaning, like cost for housekeeping.” He then estimated the charge per room was “like 50 bucks.”
The Trump Organization has since said again that its room charges to the government are “at cost.”
But, the Post says, the company “has not responded to questions asking how it calculates those costs — or why the actual rates are so much higher than the $50 figure Eric Trump cited.”
In its earlier article, the Post calculated that the Secret Service had paid nearly half a million dollars to Trump’s company, but says that “because so little data is available … the actual number is probably higher.”
The Post notes that the Secret Service is supposed to report to Congress every six months on the cost of protecting presidential residences, but has only done so three times since Trump took office — “And, even in those three, the lines for spending at Trump’s Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago clubs are both blank.”
The committee gave the Service until Feb. 25 to explain why.