Report: Special Interest Groups Have Held Over 100 Events At Trump Properties
Special interest groups representing dozens of industries — including private prisons, payday lenders, and fossil fuel companies — have hosted or sponsored at least 100 events at properties owned by President Donald Trump since he entered the White House.
Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington, which tracks the president’s myriad conflicts of interest, reported last week that the number of special interest events at Trump properties amounts to roughly one every ten days since he took office.
Unlike his predecessors, Trump opted against divesting from his businesses when he became president, meaning he continues to profit from them while in office — and the door to potential corruption is now flung wide open.
“Almost immediately, the president whose campaign was buoyed by chants of ‘Drain the Swamp’ became one of the Swamp’s primary beneficiaries,” CREW noted.
But special interest groups holding events at the president’s properties does not only help line the president’s pockets, thereby creating the appearance of currying favor. It also affords access to top administration officials — and on occasion the president himself — to industry insiders.
CREW highlighted two events Trump attended at Mar-a-Lago and said it has logged “60 other instances where Trump administration officials and 26 occasions where members of Congress have attended an event at a Trump property hosted by groups representing big businesses, banks, energy and an array of other special interests.”
The organization also said its tally does not include spending at Trump’s properties that is less-than-lavish, pointing to T-Mobile’s admission that its executives increased such expenditures as the company sought approval for a merger with Sprint.
T-Mobile boosted spending at Trump properties by about $200,000 ahead of the administration’s decision to greenlight the merger in July.
CREW acknowledged that the swamp in Washington existed long before Trump but added that this president brought with him a whole new level of game play to the White House: “The concept of pay-to-play long precedes this administration, but never before has “pay” referred to personal income for the commander-in-chief himself.”