July 27, 2017

Republicans Reject Resolution to Determine What the Trump Family & Brand is Costing Taxpayers

The House Committee on Homeland Security rejected a Resolution of Inquiry (H.Res. 447) sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) that would have directed the Department of Homeland Security to provide all information related to payments it made for Trump Organization or Trump family travel in furtherance of Trump Organization business.

In January, President Trump established a revocable trust to hold the Trump Organization for the “exclusive benefit of Donald J. Trump.” Since that time, two of the Presidents children have undertaken costly international travel to promote the Trump brand and business for Trump Organization. Additionally, during the 2016 campaign and subsequent to President Trump’s inauguration, it has been reported that components within the Department of Homeland Security—most notably the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Coast Guard—have expended significant resources and made payments to the Trump Organization for costs incurred in the course of protecting the President and his family at Trump commercial properties. This information is necessary to carry out oversight into how much the President and his family’s activities to promote the Trump brand is costing the American taxpayer.

All Committee Republicans voted against the measure in a party line vote.

"Americans want to see their taxes go towards rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, investing in the education of our children, and ensuring our nation’s security. We should be in bipartisan agreement that we should not be wasting already limited homeland security resources on payments to or in furtherance of the business interests of the President,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “Yesterday, to my disappointment, my Republican colleagues demonstrated to the nation that loyalty to their party supersedes the best interests of the American people. They provided no legitimate arguments for why Congress should not seek this information and refused to step up to the plate and work with Democrats to get our constituents answers on whether their tax dollars are lining the President’s pockets. For the sake of transparency, we will continue to implore Chairman McCaul to get the answers we need to do meaningful oversight of the extent to which President Trump and the businesses he still owns receive financial payments and benefits from the Department of Homeland Security.”

Today, in response, Watson Coleman introduced The “Stop Padding Presidential Pockets Act”, legislation that seeks to require anyone who receives Secret Service protection and travels in furtherance of the business interests or financial benefit of the President of the United States to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for costs incurred by the Government pertaining to that travel, including for the provision of Secret Service protection. This bill, if enacted, would ensure that the Trump family pays for the significant costs incurred by the Federal Government for trips that directly benefit the President’s business and financial interests.

Markup information and video.

BACKGROUND: A Resolution of Inquiry is a legislative tool that has privileged parliamentary status, meaning it can be brought to the floor if the relevant Committee has not reported it within 14 legislative days, even if the House Majority has not scheduled it for a vote. Once introduced, the Committee must schedule a markup to consider and debate the measure and vote on whether to report it to the house favorably or unfavorably. If the Committee does not act, it can be called up on the House floor and voted upon by the full House of Representatives.