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Politics House Democrats ask Secret Service for details about its payments to Trump’s company

20:40  12 february  2020
20:40  12 february  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday asked the Secret Service to provide a full accounting of its payments to President Trump’s private company — after The Washington Post revealed that the Secret Service had been charged up to $650 per night for rooms at Trump clubs.

In a letter to the Secret Service, signed by chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and member Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the committee asks for any records of payments to Trump properties, and copies of any contracts between the Secret Service and Trump clubs.

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Last week, The Post reported that the Secret Service had been charged up to $650 per night for rooms at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, and charged $17,000 a month for a cottage that agents used at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, N.J. President Trump still owns his companies. These payments show he has an unprecedented — and largely hidden — business relationship with his own government.

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The letter said those charges stand “in stark contrast” to the Trump Organization’s public statements. Trump’s son Eric, who runs the company day-to-day, had previously said that the company charged government employees at a steep discount.

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“They stay at our properties for free — meaning, like, cost for housekeeping,” Eric Trump said last year in an interview with Yahoo Finance. Eric Trump estimated the charge per room was “like 50 bucks.”

The actual charges revealed by The Post “raise serious concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars and raise questions about government spending at other Trump properties,” the letter said. Maloney took over the committee in November, following the death of former chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.).

The Secret Service did not respond to questions about the letter Wednesday morning.

Eric Trump wearing a suit and tie: Eric Trump, who is running President Trump’s company while his father is in the White House, appears at a press conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 3.© Carlo Allegri/Reuters Eric Trump, who is running President Trump’s company while his father is in the White House, appears at a press conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 3. The Trump Organization has continued to say it charges the government “at cost,” but it has not responded to questions asking how it calculates those costs — or why the actual rates are so much higher than the $50 figure Eric Trump cited.

Secret Service has paid rates as high as $650 a night for rooms at Trump’s properties

  Secret Service has paid rates as high as $650 a night for rooms at Trump’s properties The payments contradict claims that the company charges the government little or nothing for overnight stays.Those charges, compiled here for the first time, show that Trump has an unprecedented — and largely hidden — business relationship with his own government. When Trump visits his clubs in Palm Beach, Fla., and Bedminster, N.J., the service needs space to post guards and store equipment.

The Post identified $471,000 worth of payments from the Secret Service to Trump’s company, but — because so little data is available — the actual number is probably higher. The payments are not listed in a public spending database, as is usually required for payments above $10,000. Instead, The Post pieced them together using documents from public records requests — but most of the available documents date back to 2017 or 2018.

In its letter, the committee said that the “Secret Service has not disclosed the full scope of its payments to the President’s businesses or its expenses for presidential travel to [Trump’s] own properties.”

The Secret Service is legally required to send Congress a report every six months on its spending to protect presidential residences. But since the start of Trump’s term, the letter said, the Secret Service has provided only three of the required six reports.

And, even in those three, the lines for spending at Trump’s Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago clubs are both blank, the committee said. The letter asks the Secret Service to explain why.

The committee set a deadline of Feb. 25.

Man carrying knife arrested outside White House after threat .
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man carrying a knife was arrested outside the White House after he told a U.S. Secret Service officer that he was there to kill the president, police said. Roger Hedgpeth, 25, was arrested Saturday afternoon on a charge of making threats to do bodily harm, the Metropolitan Police Department said. Hedgpeth approached a Secret Service officer who was patrolling outside the White House and said he was there to “assassinate” President Donald Trump and “I have a knife to do it with,” according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press.

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