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The Trump Organization has donated profit generated last year from foreign-government business at its hotels to the U.S. Treasury Department, the company said Monday without specifying the amount.
“Although not a legal requirement, this voluntary donation fulfills our pledge to donate profits from foreign-government patronage at our hotels and similar business during President Trump’s term in office,” George Sorial, executive vice president, said in an emailed statement, which stated the donation was made Feb. 22.
Among the highest-profile intersections between Trump’s private business and public policy have been at his hotel in Washington D.C., which has hosted delegations from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Georgia. The Trump Organization’s plans called for estimating revenue for such guests.
Trump’s mixing of business and politics has drawn lawsuits. One federal judge dismissed a lawsuit alleging he has flouted constitutional limits on benefits presidents are allowed from their financial dealings with foreign and domestic governments. The judge said the plaintiffs hadn’t been harmed by Trump’s actions and that it was up to Congress to take action.
Another federal judge in Greenbelt, Maryland, has hinted that he may allow a similar case to move forward.
The donation represents profit from foreign governments beginning on Jan. 20, when company owner Donald Trump became president, through Dec. 31, the company said.
Trump bucked decades of tradition by holding on to assets and allowing family to manage them while he serves in the White House.
Predecessors created brighter lines. For instance, President Jimmy Carter placed an independent trustee in charge of his family’s peanut farm in Georgia, and Vice President Dick Cheney sold his shares in Halliburton Co., where he had served as chief executive officer, and earmarked proceeds from certain stock options for charity.
The Trump Organization’s plan to donate such profits was made public in May by Democrats in the House of Representatives, who released a glossy pamphlet published by the company that outlined its plans. The measures were derided by the president’s political opponents for being insufficient, because the company acknowledged it wouldn’t necessarily capture all revenue from foreign governments. Among the potential omissions was business generated from state-owned enterprises, “which may not be reasonably identifiable,” it said.
“To fully and completely identify all patronage at our properties by customer type is impractical in the service industry and putting forth a policy that requires all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand,” the company said in the pamphlet.
Representatives for the Treasury Department didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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