Trump’s businesses charged Secret Service more than $1.1 million, including for rooms in club shuttered for pandemic : politics

“They’re nickel-and-diming the American people. At a moment when every penny counts.”

Some bits from the article..

The documents, including receipts and invoices from Trump’s businesses, were released by the Secret Service after The Washington Post filed a public-records lawsuit. They added $188,000 in previously unknown charges to The Post’s running total of payments to Trump’s properties related to the presence of Secret Service agents.

Before he took office, Trump said he would be “completely isolating” himself from his business interests. He didn’t. Instead, Trump has visited his properties 274 times, according to a Post tally, in addition to promoting those properties on Twitter, encouraging his vice president visit them and briefly choosing one of them to host a summit of world leaders.

When federal officials accompanied his father, Eric Trump told Yahoo Finance, the company charged them only “like 50 bucks” per room.

Instead, government documents show that the Trump Organization has charged as much as $650 per night, and sometimes tacked on additional charges beyond the room rate.

“We always had space reserved at Bedminster weeks before the president arrived, just in case,” said this official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.

The result was that the Secret Service paid rent in Bedminster for more than 200 days when Trump was not there. The Post has documented a similar dynamic at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida: Trump’s unpredictable travel choices led agents to rent rooms for weeks in advance, in case the president decided to visit.

The result was a double benefit for Trump’s businesses: They got paid when he visited — and, often, when he didn’t.

But this spring marked the first known instance of a Trump club billing the government while it was closed.

The Bedminster club temporarily closed down operations on March 17, after Murphy imposed new restrictions on businesses and social gatherings because of the pandemic.

Staff offices would remain open, Schutzenhofer said, but employees were encouraged to work from home.

Through April, the club remained shuttered. But the charges continued. In fact, on some nights the Secret Service appears to have been charged for even more rooms than usual — not just the Sarazen Cottage, but one or two additional rooms as well.

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