Under fire from government watchdogs concerned that President Trump’s financial interest in his hotel business creates a conflict of interest—specifically that foreigners could try to influence the president by contributing to his bottom line—the Trump Organization said late last month that it had donated all hotel profits from foreigners to the U.S. Treasury.
On Friday, we learned the exact amount: $151,470.
While many have questioned the accounting that generated that figure, it’s worth noting that the donation was entirely voluntary on the part of the Trump Organization. As such, we thought it worth considering exactly what agencies could buy with that kind of extra money.
Here are some ideas:
- Six soundproof privacy booths such as the one installed by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt ($25,000 each)
- One new set of executive suite office doors, suitable for an historic building such as those the Interior Department recently purchased for Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office ($139,000)
- Five dining room sets on par with one the Housing and Urban Development recently cancelled for Secretary Ben Carson’s executive suite ($31,000)
- Flight costs for the spouses of 37 busy executives ($4,000, based on costs incurred by Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin’s wife)
- About nine charter flights for the really busy executives (prorated based on the $400,000 former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price spent on 24 such flights)
- The cost of supporting the president for almost one day at Mar-a-Lago (based on the $6.6 million taxpayers spent in 2017 for the 40 days Trump spent there)
- One climate scientist for about a year (the approximate annual salary of a GS-15, Step 10 civil servant)