Non-partisan watchdog group American Oversight today called on federal, Florida and New York State law enforcement officials and prosecutors to investigate whether domestic and foreign interests have used Trump properties, including the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and the Trump National Doral as conduits to bribe the Trump administration to pursue favorable policies and award contracts.
“The Trump International Hotel has become a physical manifestation of the very Washington ‘swamp’ that President Trump pledged to drain during last year’s campaign,” said American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers. “Over and over we’ve seen how foreign governments, lobbyists and political groups have held events at Trump properties – with the profits landing in the president’s pocket – to curry favor with the White House. It’s past time for state and federal prosecutors to take a hard look at how payments to the Trump Organization are corrupting our government.”
Numerous recent reports have indicated that foreign and domestic lobbies have shifted business to Trump properties in Washington, and around the world, in an attempt to gain the administration’s favor. In September, for example, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak – who is under investigation by American prosecutors for embezzling government funds – stayed at the Trump Hotel with his large entourage during an official visit to Washington.
In addition, an October 25th report in the Washington Post detailed the link between private profit and official action in the Trump administration. GEO Group, a private prison company, shifted its annual leadership meeting to the Trump National Doral resort in Florida, donated almost $500,000 to President Trump’s campaign and inaugural committee, and employed Trump loyalists as its Washington lobbyists. In apparent exchange for this financial support, the Trump administration has rewarded GEO Group with tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts, causing its stock price to soar.
In a letter sent today to Florida, New York State and federal law enforcement officials, including the New York Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorneys for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Southern District of Florida, and the District of Columbia, American Oversight called for an investigation in whether those who have done business with the hotel while simultaneously seeking action from the government.
Evers continued, “While Americans rightly lament the role of money in politics and the power of lobbyists in DC, a line still exists between legalized influence peddling and criminal bribery. It is undeniable that individuals and companies seeking official actions from the administration are using Trump properties to sugarcoat their business pitches. Justice is blind but that doesn’t mean it can be duped.”
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