New Documents Show Pentagon Spent At Least $184,000 in U.S. Taxpayer Funds at President Trump’s Turnberry Resort

Sep 18, 2019
Press Release
Oversight Demands Documents Withheld by Pentagon and Emails Referred to White House

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 18, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent their third letter demanding documents being withheld by the Department of Defense in response to the Committee’s requests for information regarding U.S. taxpayer funds spent at President Donald Trump’s Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in apparent violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.  

“Unfortunately, the Department’s response has been woefully inadequate,” Chairmen Cummings and Raskin wrote.  “To date, the Department has produced only 21 pages of material—half of which appear to be publicly available on government websites.  The Department failed to produce any underlying invoices or travel records relating to spending at Trump Turnberry or Prestwick Airport.  It is unclear why the Department has taken so long to produce such rudimentary and deficient information.”

“Although the Department’s response is belated and deficient, it still reveals that far more taxpayer funds have been spent at the President’s resort than previously known,” the Chairmen continued.  “Although initial press accounts reported only a single instance of a military crew staying at Trump Turnberry this spring, the data provided by the Department now indicates that U.S. taxpayer funds have been used to pay for more than three dozen separate stays involving hundreds of nights of rooms—all after the President was sworn into office.”

For example, the Department did not provide the total number of rooms that were booked.  However, it asserted that the average cost of a room for military servicemembers between August 2017 and July 2019 was $189.  The Department also asserted that, during this same time period, expenditures “specifically associated with the Trump Turnberry … amounted to $124,578.96.”

“If both of these claims are accurate, it appears that U.S. taxpayer funds were used to purchase the equivalent of more than 650 rooms at the Trump Turnberry just since August 2017—or the equivalent of one room every night for more than one-and-a-half years,” the Chairmen wrote.

This estimate does not include “an additional $59,729.12” in unspecified charges to government travel cards, which would boost total military spending at Trump Turnberry to more than $184,000.

In addition, fuel “expenditures at the airport from January 20, 2017 through June 21, 2019 amounted to $16,617,664.72.”  Although the Department asserted that it paid $3.38 per gallon for fuel, it did not provide any information on contemporaneous fuel rates at non-commercial sites, such as military bases elsewhere in Europe. 

“Without the requested invoices and other documents, the Committee cannot assess the full extent of payments in violation of the Emoluments Clause.  In addition, the Committee cannot answer basic questions, such as how many military personnel were involved and who authorized their stays,” the Chairmen wrote.

The Committee also raised concern with the Department’s refusal to produce communications with outside entities about Trump Turnberry or Prestwick Airport, instead referring the Committee’s requests for these documents to the White House despite the President’s claim that he had "nothing to do" with these matters.

“With respect to emails and other communications, the President claims that he has had nothing to do with these matters, so it is unclear why the Department is coordinating its response with the White House, why the Department is withholding these documents from Congress, and on what basis the Department is still suppressing this information from the American people,” the Chairmen concluded.

Chairmen Cummings and Raskin demand all requested documents requested in their previous letters on June 21 and September 10 no later than September 27, 2019.

Click here to read today’s letter.

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116th Congress