Report: House Is Investigating Massive Empty Room Rentals At Trump Hotels
Americans and government watchdog groups have been concerned throughout President Donald Trump’s tenure that he is profiting from the Oval Office, but a new report raises those concerns to a higher level.
According to Politico, House Democrats are looking into allegations that at least one group and one foreign government reserved massive numbers of rooms at Trump’s hotels but never stayed in them — all in an effort to curry favor with the president.
“Now we’re looking at near raw bribery,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a member of the House Oversight Committee who chairs the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel, told Politico. “That was the risk from day one — foreign governments and others trying to seek favor because we know Trump pays attention to this.... It’s an obvious attempt to curry favor with him.”
The issue came under scrutiny after “the committee received information that two entities — a trade association and a foreign government — booked a large quantity of rooms but only used a fraction of them, according to a person familiar with the allegation who isn't authorized to speak for the committee.”
Connolly confirmed to Politico that committee staff are looking into the allegations but could not provide further details.
The news outlet noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated the impeachment inquiry currently underway will focus on whistleblower allegations that Trump abused his power as president in asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, but it remains possible that issues such as the hotel situation — which could represent a violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause — might also be included.
“Potential violations of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution are of grave concern to the Committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment,” Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Jerry Nadley (D-N.Y.) wrote earlier this year. They chair the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, respectively.