Democrats Should Have Gone After Emoluments

And other forms of monetary corruption. The case is so obvious even the liberal New Republic Jonathan Chait can see it (boldface mine):

Meanwhile Trump is engaged in massive personal, ongoing corruption. The Washington Post has obtained Secret Service receipts from Trump’s properties. It reveals a massive profiteering scandal.

First, it shows that the Trump Organization has flat-out lied about the benefits it gets from the government business Trump throws its way. Last year, President Trump briefly sought to host a G-7 summit at one of his properties. Eric Trump, an independent entrepreneur who operates at arm’s length from his father’s administration, explained that the move would actually save taxpayers a lot of money. “If my father travels, they stay at our properties for free — meaning, like, cost for housekeeping,” he told Yahoo Finance. “If he stays at one of his places, the government actually … saves a fortune because, if they were to go to a hotel across the street, they’d be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know, we charge them like 50 bucks.”

This promise turns out not to be exactly, or even approximately, true. In fact, the Post finds that the Secret Service routinely paid $396 a night for rooms, and on many other occasions, paid $650 a night. So unless Eric Trump is such a terrible businessman he underestimates the cost at one of the properties he is running by thirteenfold, he (on behalf of his father’s business) is intentionally deceiving the public.

Second, the Trump Organization appears to be overcharging the Secret Service for the use of its cottage properties. At Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, the Secret Service paid $17,000 a month for a three-bedroom cottage. “Since fall 2017, there have been 100 rental listings for homes with three or more bedrooms in Bedminster, according to the website Zillow.com,” the Post finds. “None were anywhere near Trump’s rate; the average rental rate was $3,400, and the highest rent listed on Zillow was $8,500.”

So the Secret Service paid twice as much as the most expensive available listing in order to sleep on Trump’s golf property.

Third, the federal government is withholding documentation about just how much it is spending on Trump properties. The Post pieced together its story from fragmentary receipts it was able to obtain. But the Secret Service has failed to fully report its spending there. While it’s required to report such expenses to Congress twice a year, it’s only filed two of the six required reports. What’s more, the reports it did file omitted key details. And other mandated avenues for disclosure, like usaspending.gov, omit any detail about payments to Trump clubs.

And finally, as one might infer from the lack of disclosure, there may be a lot worse stuff out there.

Anyone think there isn’t more out there? This is a guy whose ‘university’ was found culpable of fraud.

Unlike the Ukraine charges, which involved a bunch of people with Russian names nobody can keep straight, everybody gets being charged too much–way too much. It really wouldn’t have been a hard case to make–and multiple attorneys general have filed suits which could have provided more evidence (and they would have been willing to testify). Plus, it would have been nearly impossible for Republicans to defend because it is so clearly greed and nothing more than that. Sure, they might have acquitted anyway, but this is really easy to hang around Republicans’ necks.

I suppose Democrats could file new charges. At the least, they should vigorously investigate in the House. That would help any Democratic candidate, especially Sanders or Warren, who are very strong on anti-corruption rhetoric and policies.

This entry was posted in Bidness, Conservatives, Resistance Rebellion And Death. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Democrats Should Have Gone After Emoluments

  1. elkern says:

    YES, squared. The GOP noise machine was able to frame the Ukraine-Gate impeachment as (1) and argument about Foreign Policy and (2) Bidens’ corruption, and the Dems should have seen that coming. It could have been useful as one piece of a larger focus on Trump’s corruption; ignoring the larger framework – and the examples you cite here – weakened the case, both in Senate and Court of Public Opinion.

    Oddly, the Lawfare blog (which you often link) was dead set against impeaching for Emoluments. Why? Are they all Professional Democrats, protecting their piece of the pie?

  2. jmagoun says:

    I’ve come to believe that the Dems haven’t pursued the president’s violation of the Emoluments Clause because the obvious counter-tactic by the White House would be to expose every questionable financial arrangement conducted or tolerated by the Dems. As it was, even though Hunter Biden’s cushy board seat in the Ukraine was not technically a scandal, it looked pretty bad and Joe Biden was never able to articulate that he and his son were utterly innocent victims of a venal president’s illegal etc.

    In other words, Chait’s conclusion that “there may be a lot worse stuff out there” certainly cuts both ways in Washington, D.C., even if Trump’s peculiar view of the presidential office as nothing more than a license to make money takes things to an unprecedented extreme.

  3. Ed Martin says:

    Democrats should have accepted the election results. Hillary lost. Get over it.

  4. Pingback: My Week On Crooks and Liars | Mock Paper Scissors

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