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Watchdog group: Trump had over 1,400 conflicts of interest in first two years

The Hill logo The Hill 1/17/2019 Morgan Gstalter
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Watchdog group: Trump had over 1,400 conflicts of interest in first two years © The Hill Watchdog group: Trump had over 1,400 conflicts of interest in first two years A government watchdog group estimates that President Trump had more than 1,400 conflicts of interests during his first two years in office.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a report Thursday claiming that the president tried to promote his businesses as extensions of his presidency and administration.

During Trump's second year in office, CREW reported more than 900 interactions between the Trump administration and the Trump Organization.

Trump made 118 visits to Trump properties that he still profits from during his second year in office and mentioned or referred to his company 68 times, according to the report.

At least 119 federal officials, 53 members of Congress and 33 state officials also visited Trump properties during 2018.

More than 150 political committees, campaigns and party committees spent an estimated $5 million at Trump businesses since his inauguration in January 2017, according to CREW.

CREW identified 12 foreign governments that made payments to Trump properties during his first two years in office, including three foreign entities which held events in 2018.

"To be clear, this amounts to the president of the United States receiving a direct and significant financial benefit from special interests, foreign and domestic, that have chosen to spend money on events at his properties to curry favor with his administration," CREW states in the report.

Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit from the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The case, which is making its way through the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, alleges that Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by receiving payments from foreign and domestic governments through the hotel - which is blocks from the White House.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and Trump Organization for comment about the CREW report.

Trump has faced constant scrutiny about his business ties since the early days of his presidential campaign.

The president announced before he took office that he would not sell his businesses upon entering the White House, instead handing control over to his two adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

"It is hard to imagine that the President of the United States could rack up a staggering 1,400 conflicts of interest, yet here we are," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. "Not only has President Trump still refused to divest from his businesses, he seems to have doubled down by reinforcing the idea that the Trump Organization is an extension of the Trump Administration."

"This report shows that as special interests, foreign governments and political allies continue to pour money into Trump's coffers, the American public is left in the dark about whether presidential decisions and policy are being made in the best interest of the country or in the best interest of the president's own bottom line," Bookbinder said.

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