December 6, 2019
More than 100 members of Congress have now visited at least one of the properties that President Trump owns and profits from while in office, according to tracking by CREW. While Congress is charged with providing unbiased checks and balances on the president, including President Trump’s conflicts of interest related to his businesses, many members have chosen to forgo these responsibilities while enjoying the political benefits that visiting and spending money at Trump properties provides. That’s especially problematic now, as members of Congress are tasked with considering how to perform their constitutional duty as the impeachment process moves forward. In fact, 50 members of Congress have visited a Trump property since the impeachment inquiry was announced, and some key figures in the impeachment inquiry are some of Trump’s best customers.
According to CREW’s tracking of Trump’s conflicts of interest while in office, 115 individual members of Congress have made 256 visits to Trump properties since he was elected. More than one-third of the Republicans currently serving in Congress have visited a Trump property.
At least 122 of these visits were made to attend a political fundraiser or special interest group event. Before Donald Trump ran for office, very little political spending took place at his properties. Now, the President’s hotels and resorts have become centers of the Republican fundraising apparatus. In the last three years, at least 71 political fundraisers have taken place at his properties. Ten Republican members and Trump allies have held campaign fundraisers at Trump properties. President Trump has himself attended 25 political fundraisers at Trump properties, often mingling with members of Congress.
The amount of money Republicans have raised at Trump’s properties adds to the question of whether members of Congress are able to provide impartial oversight into the President’s activities, an important question during impeachment hearings. With so many Republicans taking advantage of the president’s properties to raise money for their campaigns, can they really risk damaging the Republican fundraising machine by holding the President accountable?
Members of each of the House committees involved in impeachment have previously shirked their oversight responsibilities related to conflicts of interest surrounding Trump’s businesses by patronizing his properties. House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jim Jordan, who was added to the Intelligence Committee to defend Trump during impeachment proceedings, has made six visits, and even held a campaign fundraiser at the D.C. hotel in June. A full third of the Republicans on the Intelligence committee have visited Trump properties, according to CREW’s tracking.
In addition, five members of the Judiciary committee, charged with writing the articles of impeachment, have visited a Trump property. Six members of Oversight and four members of Foreign Affairs, who along with the Intelligence committee filed a report on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, have visited a Trump property as well.
The Senate, which will vote on impeachment if it passes the House, is likewise filled with patrons of Trump properties. Thirty-two out of 53 sitting Republican Senators have been spotted at a Trump property. Some of Trump’s most passionate backers in the Senate are frequent patrons of his hotels: Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, and Mitch McConnell are all in the top ten most frequent visitors in Congress.
It is impossible to know about every single visit that public officials make to Trump properties, so, unfortunately, CREW’s tracking can only provide a conservative estimate of overall visits. But even based on this limited insight, it’s clear that many in Congress, who have a constitutional duty to check the President’s corruption, have abandoned their responsibility in favor of taking advantage of Trump’s conflicts for their own political gain.