Trump's businesses show mixed returns during campaign and presidency
They saw a surge in new money from a major new hotel that opened in Washington, while revenue dipped substantially or was flat at a number of his other marquee properties such as the Trump National Doral golf course in Florida, an annual financial disclosure report made public Friday showed.
The disclosures offer the first official look at how Trump's private finances fared during the campaign and the early months of presidency, even as he has stepped away from the day-to-day management duties of his company.
Trump's business interests, which already have been the source of constitutional challenges and ethics complaints, are more complicated than any previous president and even with the disclosure offered Friday, the picture of his finances is far from complete.
The 98-page document released Friday provides no new information about any possible ties to Russia, echoing the statement released last month by Trump's lawyers.
But the financial disclosures, which generally cover a period from January 2016 to April of this year, again make clear how important foreign business operations are to Trump's empire, in terms of new sources of revenue.
For 20 of his most prominent resort and golf club holdings — including the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Mar-a-Lago, the private club in Florida — total revenues for the most recent reporting period were about $360 million, compared with about $350 million in the prior report. A tally on his overall revenues for the year was not immediately available.
The forms, however, have significant limitations and lack the level of detail normally provided in tax returns.
Trump voluntarily filed the disclosure with the assistance of the Office of Government Ethics, following a practice of President Barack Obama. He was technically not required to make the filing until next year.
One of the Trump Organization's new endeavors, Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., set up in a once rundown federal building that the Trump family spent $200 million to renovate, had revenues of about $20 million, the disclosure said.
The hotel opened its doors in September and since Election Day it has become a magnet for foreigners and lobbyists, with executives explicitly pitching the hotel as a smart place for foreign diplomats to hold events. The hotel has been the site of Bahrain's National Day celebration, and a prominent conference on U.S.-Turkey relations. It also served as the host of the American Petroleum Institute board meeting in March — an event that drew two members of Trump's Cabinet — while also making the family company a considerable fee.
And while Trump has pledged to forgo new deals abroad during his presidency, several of his existing ventures opened recently, like the ones in Dubai and Manila. Trump has also vowed to donate profits at his hotels from foreign governments and officials, but his company has found that to be more difficult in practice because it is hard to identify foreign government officials who conduct business there.
Ethics lawyers involved in suing Trump, based on allegations that he is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution because his businesses are accepting payments from foreign governments, said that the financial disclosure, while helpful, left many of their questions unresolved.
"It does nothing to clarify the critical conflicts questions, relating to domestic policy and national and international security that are left open by his failure to issue his tax return," said Norman Eisen, a former White House ethics lawyer during the Obama administration, who is chairman of a nonprofit group that is a party in two of the emoluments lawsuits.
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