A New York Times analysis of tax records showed that more than 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments have funneled millions of dollars to President Trump
Nearly a nearly a quarter of the entities have not been previously reported.
Sixty patrons, who promoted specific interests to the Trump administration, spent almost $12 million on expenses associated with the Trump Organization during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. The Times reported nearly all of these customers saw their interests move forward.
In interviews with almost 250 business executives, club members, lobbyists, Trump property employees and current administration officials, sources detailed to Times how Trump conducted business and interacted with customers who were seeking help from the administration.
The newspaper also used Trump’s tax-return data, lobbying disclosures, Freedom of Information Act requests and other public records to construct a database of groups, companies and governments that had business before the administration and spent money on Trump properties.
The Trump Organization’s customers included foreign politicians, Florida barons, a Chinese billionaire, a Serbian prince, clean-energy advocates, petroleum industry leaders, small government advocates and contractors. The newspaper noted that some of the president’s customers did not see their interests fully fulfilled but noted “whether they won or lost, Mr. Trump benefited financially.”
More than 70 advocacy groups, businesses and foreign governments held events at Trump Organization properties that previously were at different locations or developed new events to be hosted at the properties. Religious organizations also participated by throwing prayer meetings, banquets and tours on Trump properties.
At least two dozen patrons who reserved events for 2017 and 2018 at Trump properties had interests involving the administration. The analysis also found that more than 100 companies that sought action from the federal government spent money at Trump properties.
The Times noted that the tax records do not include all payments to Trump properties, but additional data is tracked by the Town of Palm Beach where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club is located. Organizations that had special interests reported spending $3.3 million on events at the club from 2017 to now.
The records and membership rosters for Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., also show how much money his business was making once he sat in the White House.
Being a member of his clubs also allowed leaders to get time with the president and sometimes his support, as he offered ambassadorships to five members and chose others for advisory roles in his administration.
White House spokesperson Judd Deere told The Hill in a statement that the Times report was “Just more fake news.”
“This is yet another politically-motivated hit piece inaccurately smearing a standard business deal,” he said. “During his years as a successful businessman, Donald Trump was long-time partners with Phil Ruffin and earned whatever payments he received. This is the same 2016 playbook that the American people rejected resoundingly.”
Deere told the Times in a statement that the president “turned over the day-to-day responsibilities” of the Trump Organization to his two adult sons.