Trump Details How He’s Profiting Off the Presidency

by Tara Culp-Ressler –

The president’s financial disclosure forms show where his profits have been boosted since he ran for office.

New financial disclosure forms provide insight into where and how Donald Trump has reaped profits since he launched his bid for the presidency.

The 98-page filing with the Office of Government Ethics, released on Friday afternoon, provides an incomplete snapshot of Trump’s financial picture. But since Trump has broken presidential precedent by refusing to release his taxes, it’s the closest look into his investments the public has gotten so far.

The documents provide financial information for the period of time between last January and this spring — encompassing the lead-up to the presidential election and Trump’s transition into the White House.

Trump’s sprawling business empire is difficult to definitively quantify. However, the filings do show that the properties Trump has visited frequently as president have seen significant gains in income, the D.C. hotel at the center of an ethical controversy has generated millions in revenue, and the royalties for Trump’s books have soared.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he spent most of his weekends immediately after his inauguration, returned millions more in income after his campaign and subsequent election. Trump reported about $16 million in profits for Mar-a-Lago in his report filed in 2015, about $30 million in his report filed in 2016, and about $37 million in his most recent report.

Trump didn’t hide the fact that his presidency made Mar-a-Lago a more profitable venture for him. The initiation fee for the so-called “Winter White House” doubled to $200,000 — a figure that doesn’t include taxes and $14,000 annual dues — immediately after Trump was inaugurated.

As the Atlantic details, the other Trump properties that did not receive frequent visits from the president did not see a sharp jump in revenue. Trump-branded golf courses throughout the United States generated roughly the same amount of income for Trump this year as they did in 2016.

According to the filings, the Trump International Hotel — the downtown D.C. property Trump leases from the federal government that’s located just blocks from the White House — has also generated nearly $20 million in profits for the president this year.

Previous reporting has revealed some of those profits come from foreign government officials who opt to stay there when they’re in the nation’s capital. Earlier this month, the attorneys general of Maryland and D.C. filed suit against the president, arguing it violates the U.S. Constitution for Trump to profit off foreign governments through this hotel.

As Trump gained power over the U.S. government, he generated interest in his products. The reported royalties for Trump’s book The Art of the Deal jumped from $100,000 last year to $1 million this year.

“President Trump welcomed the opportunity to voluntarily file his personal financial disclosure form,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement released Friday, emphasizing that the filing was “voluntary.”

Trump may have opted to file these forms with the Office of Government Ethics, but the president also ignored advice from the independent office to fully divest from his businesses and sell his assets. According to reporting from the Center for Public Integrity, OGE has had a very rocky relationship with Trump officials in the first months of his presidency.

 

Reprinted with permission from Think Progress