Defense Department Spent Nearly $1 Million at Trump Properties from July 2017 to November 2019, Records Obtained by American Oversight Reveal

Records recently obtained by American Oversight and reported on by Forbes reveal that the Department of Defense spent nearly $1 million at properties owned by former President Donald Trump between July 2017 and November 2019. 

“As far as we can tell, this is the first time these specific expenses have been reported — and they are long overdue,” Heather Sawyer, American Oversight’s executive director, told Forbes’ Zach Everson. “While we expect to receive receipts of government spending at Trump properties for years to come, we urge the government to pick up the pace so that the American people have this information.”

In 2019, American Oversight asked multiple agencies, including the Defense Department, for records regarding federal spending at Trump properties, including any guidance issued surrounding the use of Trump properties for official business and any expenses paid to Trump properties. In response, the department recently released a spreadsheet detailing the department’s spending at Trump properties. 

The spreadsheet shows a total of $974,634.02 spent at Trump properties from July 25, 2017, through Nov. 20, 2019, including more than $270,000 at Trump National Doral Miami. The records also include a memo detailing $1,680 spent by the New Jersey National Guard at Trump’s club in that state. It’s unclear from the records whether that amount is included in the spreadsheet’s total or whether it is in addition to the $974,634.02. 

Previous reporting revealed that the Pentagon had spent at least $184,000 at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland between 2017 and 2019, and Everson noted that the “previously publicly known high for Defense Department spending at Trump properties appears to be $300,000, which CNN reported in April 2019.”

The documents obtained by American Oversight reflect those expenses as well as charges for other Defense Department events at Trump properties, including at hotels in Las Vegas and New York, the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, and the Trump Hotel in Chicago.

American Oversight’s investigations of the former president’s unprecedented conflicts of interest revealed a lack of guidance for employees on how to navigate government spending at Trump-owned properties, as well as dozens of specific instances of taxpayer spending. In 2021, we obtained records from the Defense Department detailing a number of trips taken by cabinet and White House officials on military airplanes during the first year of the Trump administration, including several visits to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

As Everson noted in Forbes, “There’s no full public accounting of how much taxpayers shelled out to the Trump Organization during the Trump administration.”

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