Since the start of Donald Trump's presidency to last November, the Defense Department has spent over $300,000 at Trump enterprises, according to a recent CNN report. The payments varied from lodging expenses at Trump's National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to parking fees at the Miami Trump National Doral Club and restaurant bills at the Washington Trump International Hotel.
Though all recent US presidents have brought military personnel during their travels, the number of Trump properties receiving taxpayer dollars have caused some watchdog organizations to argue that the transactions breach ethical standards and potentially violate the U.S. Constitution. Critics argue that the President's enterprises should not profit off of taxpayer money while he is in office.
According to the internal documents, defense personnel charged approximately $173,000 on their travel cards from October 2017 to November 2018 at Trump properties alone. CNN previously reported that Defense Department Visa cards charged $138,000 at Trump-owned businesses from January 2017 to August 2017.
CNN obtained the recent files through a Freedom of Information Act inquiry, but they do not detail which specific Pentagon employees made the expenses or the reason for which they traveled to the Trump enterprise locations.
In a statement to CNN, a Trump Organization spokesperson said, "The Trump Organization does not profit whatsoever from any government officials staying at our properties. The rates we charge for government personnel are on an 'at cost' basis. There is no profit made by the Trump Organization."
Both the Defense Department and the White House Military Office declined to comment.