Businesses owned by former U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly received approximately $8 million from foreign entities across 20 countries, according to a new House Democrats report. This revelation stirs worries about possible contraventions of the constitutional prohibition against receiving funds from foreign governments.
What Happened: The bulk of foreign payments during Trump’s presidency came from China. The report was compiled after a thorough examination of Trump’s international business transactions during his presidency, reported The Hill on Friday.
The Democrats contend that the actual figure may be larger, alleging that GOP leaders released Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, from the obligation to surrender requested documents. “This subset of documents reveals a stunning web of millions of dollars in payments made by foreign governments and their agents directly to Trump-owned businesses, while President Trump was in the White House,” the Democrats stated in the report.
Significantly, about $5.6 million of the foreign funds reportedly came from China and were primarily funneled into three Trump properties: Trump hotels in Washington and Las Vegas, and Trump Tower in New York.
A response from the Trump Organization was awaited by Benzinga at the time of publishing of this article.
Why It Matters: The report revives concerns about Trump’s businesses potentially violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars government officials from profiting from their position. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), a Chinese government entity, reportedly spent $5.4 million over nearly three years leasing space at Trump Tower.
This report follows previous allegations that Trump failed to report over 100 gifts received from foreign governments during his presidency. Such gifts raise ethical questions about possible attempts to influence U.S. policy.
The report also comes in the wake of related investigations into Trump’s close acquaintances. Californian billionaire Tom Barrack, for instance, faced charges of serving as an “unregistered foreign agent,” allegedly using his close relationship with Trump to help the United Arab Emirates gain access to Trump and top administration officials.
Eric Trump, the former president’s son, dismissed the report as “a joke” and claimed that all profits from foreign governments were voluntarily donated to the U.S. Treasury.
Photo via Shutterstock