The New York Times

Corruption: 200 entities funneled money to Trump

The Trump Organization’s customers included foreign politicians, Florida barons, a Chinese billionaire, a Serbian prince, clean-energy advocates, petroleum industry leaders, small-government advocates and contractors

A New York Times analysis of tax records showed that more than 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments have funneled millions of dollars to President Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from the president and his administration. Nearly a quarter of the entities have not been previously reported. Sixty patrons who promoted specific interests to the Trump administration spent almost $12 million on expenses associated with the Trump Organization during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. The Times reported nearly all of these customers saw their interests move forward.

In interviews with almost 250 business executives, club members, lobbyists, Trump property employees and current administration officials, sources detailed to the Times how Trump conducted business and interacted with customers who were seeking help from the administration.

The newspaper also used Trump’s tax return data, lobbying disclosures, Freedom of Information Act requests and other public records to construct a database of groups, companies and governments that had business before the administration and spent money at Trump properties.

The Trump Organization’s customers included foreign politicians, Florida barons, a Chinese billionaire, a Serbian prince, clean-energy advocates, petroleum industry leaders, small-government advocates and contractors.

The newspaper noted that some of the president’s customers did not see their interests fully fulfilled but noted “whether they won or lost, Mr. Trump benefited financially.”

More than 70 advocacy groups, businesses and foreign governments held events at Trump Organization properties that previously were at different locations or developed new events to be hosted at the properties. Religious organizations also participated by throwing prayer meetings, banquets and tours on Trump properties.

At least two dozen patrons who reserved events for 2017 and 2018 at Trump properties had interests involving the administration. The analysis also found that more than 100 companies that sought action from the federal government spent money at Trump properties.

Many of the patrons to Trump's businesses told the Times that any favorable outcome they received from the administration was incidental to their use of Trump's properties.

The Times noted that the tax records do not include all payments to Trump properties, but additional data is tracked by the town of Palm Beach, Fla., where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club is located. Organizations that had special interests reported spending $3.3 million on events at the club from 2017 to now.

The records and membership rosters for Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., also show how much money his business was making once he sat in the White House.

Being a member of his clubs also allowed leaders to get time with the president and sometimes his support, as he offered ambassadorships to five members and chose others for advisory roles in his administration.

White House spokesperson Judd Deere told in a statement that the Times report was “just more fake news.”

“This is yet another politically-motivated hit piece inaccurately smearing a standard business deal,” he said. “During his years as a successful businessman, Donald Trump was long-time partners with Phil Ruffin and earned whatever payments he received. This is the same 2016 playbook that the American people rejected resoundingly.”

Deere told the Times in a statement that the president “turned over the day-to-day responsibilities” of the Trump Organization to his two adult sons.

Eric Trump: "We're a hospitality company. We've got tens of millions of people staying at our properties every single year. The New York Times is absolute fake news. All they want to do is take down my father."

Eric Trump defended his father's business dealings in response a New York Times article published on Saturday that unveiled reported White House favoritism toward hundreds of companies, lobbying groups and foreign leaders who stayed at President Trump's commercial properties.

The newspaper reported that the president used his political position to create new, more lucrative forms of income through his hotels and golf courses.

"We've lost a fortune. My father has lost a fortune running for president. He doesn't care. He wanted to do what was right. The last thing I can tell you Donald Trump needs in the world is this job. He wakes up in the morning, and he has to fight you, and he has to fight the entire media. He has to fight the Democrats, and he gets punched in the head every single day," Eric Trump told Jonathan Karl of ABC's "This Week."

Karl quickly interjected, asking for a response that directly addressed the claims made by the Times. Eric Trump instead called into question former Vice President Joe Biden's finances.

"Go Google Biden's house right now and tell me if you think that a person who's been in government for 47 years can afford that mansion on the water in Wilmington, Del.," he said. Both Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), released their tax returns right before the first presidential debate.

When Karl again asked him to address the article, Eric Trump said, "We're a hospitality company. We've got tens of millions of people staying at our properties every single year. The New York Times is absolute fake news. All they want to do is take down my father."

He then went on to claim that the media in the U.S. has become an "activist arm for the Democratic Party."

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