CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington – The State Department’s Office of Inspector General should investigate possible corruption in connection with President Trump’s announcement that the G-7 summit would likely be held at his Doral, Florida golf resort, according to a request for investigation filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The announcement calls into question the integrity of the State Department’s procurement process and raises a question as to whether Trump improperly obtained sensitive procurement information.
A contract award to the Trump Organization could violate federal contracting laws, any payments received by President Trump’s resort under the contract would violate the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause, and holding the conference at the resort could lead to violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause.
“In a presidency defined by profiteering and conflicts of interest, this is a new low,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “It’s almost unimaginable that the president would use a vitally important international summit to prop up his struggling business, but that truly appears to be what’s happening.”
The spectacle of a presidential administration awarding a costly and highly sensitive contract to a company owned by the president, in support of an event that he will lead, undermines the credibility of the federal procurement system.
“This all could have been avoided, had the president followed decades of precedent and divested from his business,” Bookbinder said. “Instead we’re left with a situation where every presidential action is under a cloud of suspicion for corruption, and that suspicion increasingly seems justified.”
President Trump’s announcement and his remarks touting the virtues of Trump National Doral put extraordinary pressure on State Department procurement officials, who could not have missed his strongly expressed desire that they award the summit to his resort, and suggest the possibility of a loss of impartiality.