House panel: Trump’s bills to Secret Service ‘exorbitant’

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s private company arranged for the Secret Service to pay for rooms at his properties in excess of government-approved rates at least 40 times, including two charges for more than $1,100 per room, per night, according to documents released Monday by a congressional committee.

The Secret Service was charged room rates of more than $800 per night at least 11 times when agents stayed at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., and other properties, the Democratic-led House Oversight Committee said. It noted that Trump made over 500 trips to his properties while president.

The “exorbitant” rates point to a possible “taxpayer-funded windfall for former President Trump’s struggling businesses,” Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney of New York wrote in a letter Monday to the Secret Service requesting more information.

The Secret Service said it had received the letter and was reviewing it.

The Trump Organization denied that the Secret Service charges were a problem and said it provided rooms and other services at cost, at big discounts or for free.

“The Trump Family is likely the first family in American history to have not profited off of the United States government,” said Eric Trump in a statement. He added, “President Trump funded the vast majority of his campaign with hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money and turned away billions of dollars in real estate deals worldwide.”

In total, the Trump Organization charged the agency responsible for protecting the president and his family at least $1.4 million, according to Secret Service records released by the committee. The committee said the total bill was likely higher because the panel only got records through September 2021 and payments for trips abroad were not included.

The former president has been repeatedly criticized by Democrats and government watchdogs for what they say were brazen attempts make money from taxpayer funds during his presidency.

In addition to money from the Secret Service when he and his family visited his clubs and hotels, Trump played host to foreign officials at his properties, also requiring lodging for accompanying agents. The president tried to arrange for his Trump National Doral Golf Club in Florida to be chosen as the venue for a Group of Seven meeting of global leaders, only to pull back after an outcry of about self dealing.

Among the documents released Monday was a bill tied to 2017 trip by Trump’s oldest son, Don Jr., to the Trump International Hotel down the street from the White House. That resulted in a Secret Service room charge of $1,185 per night, more than five times the government-approved per diem rate, the committee said, though the agency is allowed to make exceptions.

___

This story has been corrected by removing reference to the charges occurring only during Trump’s presidency; charges also include several months after he left office.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.