05.17.18

Schiff Introduces Legislation Requiring Disclosure of Executive Branch Spending at Trump-Owned Businesses

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and ten other Members of Congress introduced the Disclosing Official Spending at Presidential Businesses Act. This legislation would require that the head of each executive agency submit a report to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) detailing any official expenses at any privately held company that is owned, either in whole or in part, by the president, or a trust controlled by the president. The Director must then publish this information on OGE’s public website within ten days. This legislation would not prohibit such expenses, but require their public disclosure. 

“The immense honor and responsibility of serving as President of the United States should never be exploited for profit, and this President, like no president before him, has made an art of making money off the federal government,” said Rep. Adam Schiff. “Each time President Trump visits one of his hotels or golf courses, many officials travel with him – including Secret Service agents, White House staff and other federal officials – racking up expenses that directly benefit the Trump Organization. This spending must be made completely transparent so that the public can see how their tax dollars are being used to enrich the nation’s chief executive and his family.”

"The Constitution is very clear: the President is not allowed to receive emoluments from the federal government under any circumstances,” said Norm Eisen, Chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “The Disclosing Official Spending at Presidential Businesses Act is an important step in preventing constitutional violations, allowing the federal government, the public – and Congress itself – to respond appropriately if they occur." 

Since taking office, President Trump has spent 155 days at Trump properties, requiring White House staff, Secret Service agents, and other federal officials to travel with him and accumulate expenses at Trump-owned properties that directly benefit the First Family’s businesses. Reporters have uncovered other glaring examples of how the Presidency has become a profit generator for Trump. For example, the State Department reportedly spent more than $15,000 to book 19 rooms at a Trump property in Vancouver in February 2017. Last October, CNN found that the Secret Service had spent at least $63,700 at the President’s Mar-a-Lago resort. In early 2018, the President’s golf club in Scotland received more than $7,600 for VIP hotel stays. Schiff’s legislation would allow the public to see the full scope of federal spending at the President’s businesses.

This legislation was co-sponsored by Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Henry Johnson Jr. (D-GA), James McGovern (D-MA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Brad Sherman (D-CA).

The full text of the legislation can be found below: 

            SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Disclosing Official Spending at Presidential Businesses Act’’.

SEC. 2. DISCLOSURE OF EXPENDITURE OF FEDERAL FUNDS AT BUSINESSES OWNED BY THE PRESIDENT.


(a) IN GENERAL.—The head of each Executive agency shall submit a quarterly report to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics listing each instance, during the most recently ended quarter, that the Executive agency obligated or expended Federal funds with any privately held company that is owned, either in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, including through trusts, by the President. With respect to each such instance, the report shall include—

(1) the amount of the obligation or expenditure;

and

(2) the name of the company.

(b) PUBLICATION.—Not later than 10 days after receiving a report under subsection (a), the Director shall publish the report on the Office’s public Internet website.

(c) DEFINITION OF EXECUTIVE AGENCY.—In this section, the term ‘‘Executive agency’’ has the meaning given that term in section 105 of title 5, United States Code, and includes the United States Postal Service, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the White House, and the Executive Office of the President.