Conflicts of interest becoming obvious: Eric Trump’s business trip to Uruguay cost taxpayers $97,830 in hotel bills
So the taxpayers are underwriting the expansion of the Trump business empire. Jason Chaffetz has no shame, no honor, and no spine. Amy Brittain and Drew Hartwell report in the Washington Post:
When the president-elect’s son Eric Trump jetted to Uruguay in early January for a Trump Organization promotional trip, U.S. taxpayers were left footing a bill of nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff.
It was a high-profile jaunt out of the country for Eric, the fresh-faced executive of the Trump Organization who, like his father, pledged to keep the company separate from the presidency. Eric mingled with real estate brokers, dined at an open-air beachfront eatery and spoke to hundreds at an “ultra exclusive” Trump Tower Punta del Este evening party celebrating his visit.
The Uruguayan trip shows how the government is unavoidably entangled with the Trump company as a result of the president’s refusal to divest his ownership stake. In this case, government agencies are forced to pay to support business operations that ultimately help to enrich the president himself. Though the Trumps have pledged a division of business and government, they will nevertheless depend on the publicly funded protection granted to the first family as they travel the globe promoting their brand.
A spokeswoman for Eric Trump declined to make him available for an interview and did not provide answers to a list of detailed questions about the trip.
Eric Trump’s trip in early January to the coastal resort town appeared to be brief — perhaps as short as two nights, according to a review of local press clips and social media.
The bill for the Secret Service’s hotel rooms in Uruguay totaled $88,320. The U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, paid an additional $9,510 for its staff to stay in hotel rooms to “support” the Secret Service detail for the “VIP visit,” according to purchasing orders reviewed by The Washington Post.
“This is an example of the blurring of the line between the personal interest in the family business and the government,” said Kathleen Clark, an expert on government ethics and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
Despite the use of public funds, government agencies would not provide key details connected to the trip, including the duration of the stay, the name of the hotel or the number of booked rooms. . .
Continue reading. There’s more.
For example, later in the article:
“Having refused to sever his own personal financial interests, [the president] is now sending his emissaries, his sons, out to line his own pockets, and he’s subsidizing that activity with taxpayer dollars,” said Norm Eisen, a former Obama administration ethics adviser who is part of a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating a constitutional provision barring presidents from taking payments from foreign governments.
This stinks to high heaven.