Trump Vows to Donate Hotel Profits to U.S. Treasury

President-elect Donald Trump gives a news conference Wednesday. President-elect Donald Trump gives a news conference Wednesday. Seth Wenig / AP

President-elect Donald Trump at his Wednesday press conference responded to critics who had charged that foreign entities could seek to curry favor with his administration simply by staying in his hotels.

His tax attorney Sheri Dillon, speaking to reporters as Trump stood alongside, asserted that the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans acceptance of gifts from foreign leaders, does not apply to hotel guests making “value for value” payments for staying in the hotels.

“Just like with conflicts of interest, he wants to do more than what the Constitution requires,” she said. “So President-elect Trump has decided, and we are announcing today, that he is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the United States Treasury. This way it is the American people who will profit.”

» Get the best federal news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

According to the Treasury Department, such donations or bequests based on “patriotism” have been permitted since 1843. “Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called 'Gifts to the United States,'" the department’s website says. “Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs. These contributions are considered an unconditional gift to the government.”

Gifts cannot be earmarked for specific programs but can be steered specifically to reduce the federal debt. Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, which tracks such gifts, reported that $2.7 million was given in fiscal 2016. It lays out conditions:

  • Money, made only on the condition that it be used to reduce debt held by the public;
  • An outstanding government obligation, made only on the condition that the obligation be retired and the redemption proceeds used to reduce debt held by the public;
  • Other intangible personal property made only on the condition that the property is sold and the proceeds from the sale used to reduce the public debt.

In December, the Kuwaiti government raised some eyebrows when it moved its annual holiday party to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is leased to Trump by the General Services Administration. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.