Updated Oct 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump's business charged Secret Service "excessive" hotel rates, docs show

Former President Donald Trump exiting the former Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in January 2019.

Former President Trump exits the former Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in January 2019. Photo: Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images

Former President Trump's business charged Secret Service agents "excessive nightly rates" at its properties during dozens of trips, according to documents released Monday by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Driving the news: Some charges were as high as $1,185 per room per night at the former Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. — more than five times the government rate, according to the committee.

Why it matters: Trump maintained ownership of the Trump Organization throughout his presidency through a revocable trust, with his oldest sons, Eric and Donald Jr., at the helm.

  • The documents released were not a full account of the Secret Service's expenses at Trump's properties throughout his presidency.
  • They also do not disclose how much the Secret Service has paid for stays at Trump properties after he left the White House.

What they're saying: "Despite claims by the Trump Organization that federal employees traveling with the former President would stay at Trump properties 'for free' or 'at cost,' new information obtained by the Committee shows that the former President’s company charged the Secret Service excessive nightly rates on dozens of trips," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the Oversight Committee, said in a letter to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle on Monday.

  • "The exorbitant rates charged to the Secret Service and agents’ frequent stays at Trump-owned properties raise significant concerns about the former President’s self-dealing and may have resulted in a taxpayer-funded windfall for former President Trump’s struggling businesses," the letter continued.
  • The documents, as well as Maloney's letter, were first reported on by the Washington Post.

Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, told the Washington Post in February 2020 that the company provides rooms to the Secret Service "at cost and could make far more money renting them to members or guests."

  • He also claimed in 2019 that the federal government "saves a fortune" if Trump stayed at one of his properties, adding that the company only charges the government "like $50" per room.

The other side: “The Trump Family is likely the first family in American history to have not profited off of the United States government," Eric Trump said in a statement Monday.

  • "Furthermore, any services rendered to the United States Secret Service or other government agencies at Trump owned properties, were at their request and were either provided at cost, heavily discounted or for free," the statement continued.
  • "The company would have been substantially better off if hospitality services were sold to full-paying guests, however, the company did whatever it took to accommodate the agencies to ensure they were able to do their jobs at the highest levels -- they are amazing men and women."

Context: The cheapest room at Trump’s Organization's former D.C. hotel during a week in January 2020 was $340, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

By the numbers: Maloney told Cheatle that the committee is seeking a full account of the Secret Service’s expenditures at Trump Organization properties, saying it currently does not know the total amount the Service paid to Trump's business, though she said the total "appears to exceed $1.4 million in taxpayer dollars."

  • Throughout his presidency, Trump visited his properties 547 times — including 145 visits to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, according to the committee.
  • The documents indicate that the company charged the service a nightly rate in excess of the government per diem rate at least 40 times from the start of Trump's presidency through Sept. 15, 2021.

The Trump Organization and the Secret Service did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.

The big picture: The committee has been investigating the Trump Organization's rates for Secret Service agents since February 2020.

  • It committee requested documents related to taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties from the Secret Service at least twice.

What's next: The committee gave the service until Oct. 31 to produce those documents from Jan 20, 2017, to present day.

Read Maloney's letter to Cheatle:

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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