Peters, Wyden & Brown Question White House Decision to Host G-7 Summit at Trump Doral Resort in Miami

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are raising the alarm over the Administration’s decision to host the 2020 G-7 Summit at the President’s Trump National Doral Miami property. The Senators are pressing for answers on how Doral was selected to host the summit, and whether this decision is a misuse of the President’s public office to steer money from American taxpayers and foreign sources to private businesses that benefit him financially.

The Senators sent a letter to the White House, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State and Department of Treasury. Senators Peters, Wyden and Brown serve as the Ranking Members on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Finance, and Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committees, respectively.

“The President has chosen to host the 2020 G-7 Summit at his private golf resort in Miami. The goal of the G-7 Summit is to encourage cooperation, trade, and dialogue among the world’s leading democracies,” the Senators wrote. “This is another outrageous example of the President using his office to funnel money from American taxpayers and foreign sources into his own pockets.”

In a letter, the Senators note this is the latest in a long list of instances of taxpayer dollars being directed to properties owned by President Trump. Recent reporting raised concerns that the U.S. Air Force increased personnel stays at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, and Vice President Pence stayed at the Trump hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland 175 miles away from his meetings in Dublin. A GAO report requested by Peters and released earlier this year found that the President’s first four trips to Mar-a-Lago alone cost the American taxpayer $13 million.

Last month, Peters led Wyden, Brown and dozens of their colleagues in introducing the Heightened Oversight of Travel, Eating, and Lodging (HOTEL) Act, which would bar the federal government from spending taxpayer dollars at lodging properties owned by the President, Vice President and Cabinet officials. Prior to that, Peters launched investigations into to the excessive use of taxpayer funds at President Trump’s golf resorts in Turnberry, Scotland and Doonbeg, Ireland.

Text of the letter is copied below and available here:

October 17, 2019

The Honorable Mick Mulvaney                                  The Honorable Kevin K. McAleenan

Acting Chief of Staff                                                  Acting Secretary

The White House                                                        U.S. Department of Homeland Security

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW                                245 Murray Lane, SW

Washington, DC 20500                                              Washington, DC 20528

 

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin                                 The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary                                                                     Secretary

U.S. Department of the Treasury                                U.S. Department of State

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW                                2201 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20220                                              Washington, DC 20520

Dear Acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney, Acting Secretary McAleenan, and Secretaries Mnuchin and Pompeo:

The President has chosen to host the 2020 G-7 Summit at his private golf resort in Miami. The goal of the G-7 Summit is to encourage cooperation, trade, and dialogue among the world’s leading democracies. This is another outrageous example of the President using his office to funnel money from American taxpayers and foreign sources into his own pockets.

President Trump has traveled to Mar-a-Lago, his luxury resort in Florida, over twenty times, costing taxpayers millions of dollars with every trip. In September, Vice President Pence patronized the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland, during the course of an official visit, despite the property being approximately 175 miles away from his official business in Dublin. Because of the clear conflict of interest, the U.S. Air Force Inspector General is investigating stays by Air Force personnel at Trump Turnberry since President Trump took office.

President Trump’s decision to host the 2020 G-7 Summit at his Miami property appears to have been a foregone conclusion. Even before the close of this year’s G-7 summit in France, the White House announced the preliminary selection of Trump National Doral Miami as the location of the next Summit in 2020. The timing and justification for this decision has clear national security implications. As you know, a security plan is generally required for National Special Security Events. It remains unknown whether and to what extent any security plan or assessment sufficiently addresses potential security concerns. 

To understand the extent to which the President has advanced his personal financial interest over American interests, please provide the following:

1. An assessment of the costs to host the 2020 G-7 Summit at Trump National Doral Miami, including the costs to the federal government, state and local governments, and foreign governments. Please break down each cost by relevant categories, including, but not limited to, travel, lodging, food, security, infrastructure upgrades, and event space. Please also specify the amount that is expected to be paid to Trump National Doral Miami.

2. Today, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney stated, in response to a question about the President’s role in selecting the President’s Miami property as the 2020 G-7 Summit location, “We sat around one night. We were back in the dining room and going over with it a couple of our advance team. We had the list, and he goes, what about Doral? And it was like that's--that's not the craziest idea.”

a. On what date did the President make this “suggestion”?

b. Was the President’s Doral property part of the original list of venues under consideration to host the 2020 G-7 Summit?

c. Other than the President’s suggestion, what was the basis for inclusion, if any, of Trump National Doral Miami for consideration to host the 2020 G-7 Summit?

 3. A timeline of the selection of the location for the G-7 Summit, including when an initial solicitation was sent out, when proposals were received, and when Trump National Doral Miami was selected.

4. A list of all U.S. cities and venues considered to host the 2020 G-7 Summit, including, but not limited to, the “12 sites” referenced by President Trump while discussing the 2020 G-7 during a joint press conference in France.

5. Any solicitation used to obtain bids or quotes (including the bidders list) to host the Summit, evaluation criteria, the number of responsive bidders, and all proposals submitted for consideration. If applicable, provide the sole source justification for selecting Trump National Doral Miami.

6. According to President Trump, in order to select a host site for the 2020 G-7 Summit, his “people” went “to places all over the country.” He further said, “We had military people doing it. We had Secret Service people doing it.”

a. Identify the agencies involved in selection of the site, the locations to which they traveled, and the properties that they evaluated.

b. Provide records of any payments or reservations made to date to any properties, including but not limited to Trump Organization properties, by any of the agencies as part of their selection process.

7. A list of the individuals involved in evaluating potential venues for the 2020 G-7 Summit, including who ultimately selected Trump National Doral Miami.

8. A copy of the negotiated contract with Trump National Doral Miami for hosting the 2020 G-7 Summit.

9. All communications related to the selection of Trump National Doral Miami to host the 2020 G-7 Summit, on both governmental and non-governmental devices, including all memorandums, meeting notes, emails, texts, chat logs, records of phone calls, messages on encrypted messaging applications, and others. Please include all communications between federal officials and Trump Organization personnel or anyone acting as an agent on its behalf related to the 2020 G-7 Summit.

10. Information on the source of any funding the Administration intends to use for the 2020 G-7 summit, including any preparations leading up to the Summit.

11. Estimates of the number of U.S. Government personnel that will be involved in organizing, planning, and executing the 2020 G-7 summit.

12. Any legal analysis regarding selection of Trump National Doral Miami to host the G-7 Summit, including as to how the selection of this venue pertains to the emoluments clauses of the Constitution.

13. Confirmation regarding whether the 2020 G-7 Summit has been designated a “National Special Security Event.” If so:

a. Confirm if a security assessment was conducted, or security plan established, for each bid, including Trump National Doral Miami.

b. Provide the results of each security assessment and plan.

c. If a security plan has not yet been established, explain what steps the Secret Service and any other relevant agency or agency component intend to take to develop this plan, including a timeline.

14. The planned G-7 is not an isolated instance of foreign patronage at a Trump property. The Trump Organization has admitted to receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from foreign governments, which it claims to have then provided to the Treasury as a “voluntary donation.” However, these payments have never been independently audited, and the total amount of foreign government patronage received by the Trump Organization cannot be independently verified. Please provide:

a. An accounting of all funds received by the Treasury as remuneration of “foreign government patronage” by the Trump Organization, including their source, the foreign government to which they are attributable, and the Trump property and services associated with the underlying revenue. 

b. Any legal opinion or determination that such payments actually do resolve the question of whether foreign government patronage of Trump Organization facilities constitutes an emolument to the President.

15. The Trump Organization has previously stated that it only charges the U.S. government “at cost and [does] not profit from” stays by government officials at properties owned by President Trump—a claim echoed today by Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Please provide any communications and documents you have received related to how the Trump Organization determines this pricing, and how the Administration intends to confirm such pricing.

We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. 

###