WASHINGTON, D.C. –- (RealEstateRama) — Yesterday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced an amendment to require reporting of Secret Service expenditures paid directly to commercial properties owned by protectees as part of the committee’s markup of the Secret Service Reauthorization Act of 2017. With President Trump’s ownership of expensive commercial properties like Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago, the Secret Service’s job is to make sure that the property where the President or his family are staying is secure, and the American taxpayers are forced to foot the bill.
“You can see how people would begin to question just how much money is being transferred from the federal government to the personal business enterprises of President Trump. The American people have a right to know where their tax dollars are being spent, and when they may be being used to enrich the President,” said Congressman Nadler. “The Secret Service is stretched incredibly thin. Paying President Trump from the Secret Service’s coffers is offensive, and wastes crucial funds that could be spent on equipment or salaries but instead flow into the President’s pockets.”
Below is a copy of Rep. Nadler’s remarks, as prepared, on his amendment to the Secret Service Reauthorization Act:
“Mr. Chairman, the bill requires that Secret Service report expenditures at non-Governmental properties to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The amendment requires that this data, which already has to be reported, be disaggregated to specify the expenditures paid to commercial non-Governmental properties owned in whole or part by the protectee.
“We all support the Secret Service and appreciate the difficult job they have in protecting the first family. It is hard enough when the President and his wife and children all live in the White House together and take an occasional trip to Camp David.
“But what we have seen from this Administration is unprecedented.
“During the first 100 days or so of the Trump Administration, the President spent week days at the White House, while the First Lady remained in New York City. Most weekends he travelled to Florida and New Jersey to spend time at Trump-owned properties.
“Now that, in and of itself, is not necessarily a problem. The problem arises when you begin to realize that the Trump family is charging the federal government—the Secret Service—to rent rooms in those same locations. Expensive properties like Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago. Every time President Trump travels to Mar-a-Lago, he reportedly bills the American taxpayer $3.6 million. To date, he has done this seven times for a total of $25 million.
“You can see how people would begin to question just how much money is being transferred from the federal government to the personal business enterprises of President Trump.
“The American people have a right to know where their tax dollars are being spent, and when they may be being used to enrich the President.
“This amendment is not an attack on the Secret Service – it protects them. Congress has already had to allocate an additional $120 million for the Trump family’s security costs. The Secret Service is stretched incredibly thin. Paying President Trump from the Secret Service’s coffers is offensive, and wastes crucial funds that could be spent on equipment or salaries but instead flow into the President’s pockets.
“This amendment is not an unnecessary burden on Secret Service. The reporting requirements already include this information on the bill as is – the amendment simply disaggregates it so the public knows if the President is profiting off of tax dollars that should be reserved for Secret Service.
“This is not a partisan attack on the President. This is a commonsense oversight measure that should apply to any president. This amendment would appeal to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who appreciate the principals of limited government and taxpayer protection.
“As the Washington Post reports, “For Trump the costs [of travel] come with an additional perk: some of the money flows into his own pocket. While Trump has removed himself from managing his company, he has refused to divest his ownership, meaning that he benefits from corporate successes such as government contracts.”
“The question we have here today is exactly how much money is the taxpayer spending at Trump properties. This amendment would disaggregate that data so that we can identify that amount of money.
“But this really points to a larger and more troubling problem. We have a President who has refused to release his tax returns, who has refused to divest himself from his numerous private companies, who has refused to set up a blind trust, and who may be using his office for personal financial gain.
“So, Mr. Chairman, I wish we were going much further here today to exercise oversight over this Administration, to examine the huge conflicts of interest created by the President’s actions and to examine how his recent travels have led the federal government to spend perhaps millions of dollars on properties owned by him and his family. But for now, the least we can do is ask for an honest accounting by the Secret Service of all of the taxpayer money they are spending that goes into the personal pockets of the President.
“Thank you, I yield back.”