Foreign groups among spenders at Trump properties: Watchdog group – National

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WASHINGTON – Greater than 60 teams, together with overseas governments, political campaigns and enterprise organizations, spent cash at Trump-branded properties throughout the U.S. final yr, in line with a report Tuesday by a watchdog group that has lengthy been vital of how such spending may very well be used to affect the president.

Public Citizen, which compiled media studies and publicly out there authorities information, cited strikes by teams related to at the least three overseas governments – Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Kuwait – to ebook rooms and host occasions final yr on the Trump Worldwide Resort in Washington.

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It additionally counted at the least 16 enterprise commerce teams and two firms that used Trump properties for conferences and occasions, whereas 35 political candidates or organizations – all of them Republican – staffed fundraisers and different occasions at Trump areas.

Then-President-elect Donald Trump moved a yr in the past to surrender direct administration of the corporate and switch it over to his sons, however he stored his monetary ties via a belief that enables him to proceed withdrawing funds. The report says that association “has introduced a singular set of conflicts that beforehand had been unimaginable for the president of the US.”

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“Donald Trump entered workplace with probably the most blatant and probably corrupting conflicts of curiosity within the historical past of American politics and issues solely acquired worse from there,” mentioned Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a liberal-leaning non-profit primarily based in Washington.

“Enterprise is booming on the Trump Worldwide Resort in D.C., not due to the decor however as a result of firms and overseas governments need to curry favour with the president.”

Public Citizen’s report discovered that spending by such outdoors teams totalled greater than $600,000. And it additionally detailed that his personal marketing campaign group spent almost $750,000 for fundraising and different occasions at Trump properties over the primary three quarters of 2017, in line with the group’s evaluation of federal marketing campaign spending information. A lot of that was lease paid on the marketing campaign’s headquarters at Trump Tower in New York.

A Trump administration spokeswoman, Lindsay Walters, declined to debate the report. Trump Group officers weren’t instantly out there to answer emails from The Related Press.

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Public Citizen’s report famous that the most important spender of all was a public relations agency working with the Saudi authorities, which spent $270,000 for lodging and catering final yr, in line with overseas agent disclosures filed with the Justice Division. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and different Malay officers stayed on the resort final September throughout an official go to, however no determine was made out there for the keep. And Kuwait’s ambassador booked the resort for an undisclosed quantity final February for an annual gala.

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Two pro-Turkish organizations that work to assist enterprise and political relations between the U.S. and Turkey additionally booked the Trump resort final Might for an undisclosed quantity. One of many host teams, the Turkey-U.S. Enterprise Council, was chaired on the time by Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman who had employed Michael Flynn’s consulting agency in 2016 to carry out lobbying and analysis that aided the Turkish authorities. Fired by Trump after a short stint as nationwide safety adviser, Flynn agreed late final yr to assist the particular counsel’s probe of Russian meddling into the 2016 election.

Huge enterprise use of Trump properties ranged from the American Petroleum Institute’s March board assembly on the Trump Worldwide to payday lender commerce group Neighborhood Monetary Providers Affiliation’s annual convention on the Trump Nationwide Doral in Miami.

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