Since Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president in late 2015, at least $16.1 million has poured into Trump Organization-managed and branded hotels, golf courses and restaurants from his campaign, Republican organizations, and government agencies. Because Trump’s business empire is overseen by a trust of which he is the sole beneficiary, he profits from these hotel stays, banquet hall rentals and meals.
To arrive at the total, we compiled campaign finance reports from the Federal Election Commission; state government spending gleaned from dozens of state websites and portals; and federal agency expenditure records obtained by the Washington-based transparency organization Property of the People. For this project, Property of the People filed Freedom of Information Act requests with 15 federal agencies and sued four of them to obtain records. (The organization is also attempting to procure comparable records for the Obama era.)
The use of taxpayer dollars at Trump hotels is under scrutiny in a closely watched lawsuit in Maryland federal court. The District of Columbia and the state of Maryland sued Trump, citing a venerable anti-corruption provision of the U.S. Constitution known as the Emoluments Clause. It prohibits any financial gift, or emolument, from benefiting a sitting public official, including the president.