March 5, 2020
Donald Trump Jr.’s Mongolian trophy hunting trip cost taxpayers $17,704 in Secret Service charges alone, according to records obtained by CREW. The records show that $16,000 of that total went to Jandos Kontorbai Ahat’s company. Ahat arranged Don Jr.’s “very political” hunting permit and is also a member of the Mongolian president’s political party. His company is on the board of the Mongolian hunting and wildlife association.
The eight day trip was already controversial for many reasons: Don Jr. was retroactively awarded his permit to hunt the endangered argali sheep after killing it, he had a private meeting with Mongolia’s president that we still don’t know much about, and hunted alongside a major Republican donor. The Secret Service’s payment to Ahat’s company, Marmara International LLC, shows that taxpayer money directly funded Don Jr.’s political connection on the trip.
As a son of the president, Don Jr. is entitled to Secret Service protection and should be protected, but taxpayers deserve to know how much they are paying to facilitate his trophy hunting and interactions with major political donors and foreign leaders. Because of the overlap between the Trump Organization, the Trump White House and the Trump campaign, taxpayer money all too often ends up facilitating President Trump’s conflicts of interest.
Taxpayers now have a more complete picture of the ways their tax dollars grease the wheels for President Trump’s conflicts of interest—something the Trump Administration tries to cover up by stonewalling requests from Congress for a full accounting of the cost of Secret Service spending on protection for Trump’s family and at his properties.
In December, ProPublica reported on Don Jr.’s trip, noting that he traveled with five Secret Service bodyguards, the defense attache from the US embassy in Mongolia, and Republican political donor Kevin Small. After the hunt, Don Jr. met privately with Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, and the Mongolian government retroactively gave Don Jr. a permit to kill the sheep. Before the trip, US and Mongolian officials met at the White House, and the Mongolian ambassador and foreign minister visited Mar-a-Lago. Small, the CEO of KS Industries LP, an oil and gas company, also donated more than $96,000 to Republican groups in the months before the trip.
CREW is still investigating other aspects of the trip, including whether the State Department was involved, and whether Don Jr. was given special treatment and if he was granted a permit from the Interior Department to bring back the sheep carcass.
Between President Trump’s 267 golf trips to his own courses, charging Secret Service up to $650 per night to protect Trump at Mar-a-Lago, and Eric Trump’s $80k trip to Uruguay that CREW exposed last week, we knew that Trump’s conflicts of interest were a massive taxpayer funded expense. Now we can add another $17k to the tab for Don. Jr’s conflict-filled international trophy hunting trip.