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The Trump-branded hotel blocks from the White House has quickly generated almost $20 million of income for the Trump Organization while Mar-A-Lago, the private club used as a “Southern White House,” has seen profits climb nearly 25 percent — figures that are sure to fuel ethics advocates’ charges that Donald Trump is profiting off the presidency.
Trump’s 98-page financial disclosure was released unexpectedly late Friday by the Office of Government Ethics, almost a year before required and with no initial comment or explanation from the White House.
Details about the Trump International Hotel in the revamped Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House are likely to become part of a growing debate over the constitutional ban on president’s receiving gifts and payments while in office — something known as the emoluments clause. It requires Congress to approve any payment or gift from a foreign entity a president decides to keep.
Trump faces three lawsuits already over that ban, with groups such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, and more than 200 members of Congress suing over the constitutional ban. They point to conferences held at the Washington hotel to promote U.S.-Turkey relations, the planned celebration there of Kuwaiti National Day and numerous private gatherings in the ballroom and other facilities.
In Friday’s financial disclosure report, which reflects business during the 2016 calendar year, the Trump Old Post Office LLC cited hotel-related revenue in reporting income of $19.6 million. The hotel has been open just a few months, and in his 2016 financial-disclosure report Trump had simply offered a range between $100,000 and $1 million.
“It certainly raises the question whether the income is coming from people wanting to get the president’s attention,” said Jordan Libowitz, spokesman for CREW. “We can presume it’s because he’s president … the question is where is that money coming from?”
Trump’s golf courses also show large amounts of reported income — which presumably does not reflect offsetting expenses. His course in Jupiter, Fla., reported $20.1 million income while his Bedminster, N.J., course generated income of $19.7 million. His Charlotte, N.C., course reported income of $15 million. The Trump National Golf Club in the District of Colombia reported income of $17.5 and income on the prized Trump National Doral golf course in Miami of $115.8 million actually reflected a decline from $131.9 million in the 2016 report.
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