House investigators are looking into a finding that groups — including at least one foreign government — ingragiated themselves with Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them.
It’s a previously unreported part of a broad examination by the House Oversight Committee, included in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, into whether Trump broke the law by accepting money from U.S. or foreign governments at his properties.
“Now we’re looking at near raw bribery,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a House Oversight Committee member who chairs the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Trump’s hotel in Washington. “That was the risk from Day One: foreign governments and others trying to seek favor because we know Trump pays attention to this. … It’s an obvious attempt to curry favor with him.”
The investigation began after the committee received information that two entities — a trade association and a foreign government — booked a large quantity of rooms but used only a fraction of them, according to a person familiar with the matter who isn’t authorized to speak for the committee.
The emoluments clause of the Constitution forbids a president from profiting from foreign governments or receiving any money from the U.S. government except his or her annual salary.