The Trump Organization charged the Secret Service “exorbitant rates” – upwards of $1.4 million over four years – to protect the former President and his family at properties they owned, according to documents released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday.
The committee found that the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service “excessive nightly rates on dozens of trips” as high as $1,185 per night despite claims by the former President’s company that federal employees traveling with him would stay at those properties “for free” or “at cost.”
“The exorbitant rates charged to the Secret Service and agents’ frequent stays at Trump-owned properties raise significant concerns about the former President’s self-dealing and may have resulted in a taxpayer-funded windfall for former President Trump’s struggling businesses,” the panel’s chairwoman, New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, wrote in a letter to the service’s director on Monday.
When he was president, Trump traveled frequently to properties his company ran as businesses, including Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. While he was there, some agents and officers stayed in rooms at those properties, though others rented rooms at nearby hotels.
Charging his protective detail for lodging at his own properties was a controversial practice when Trump was in office and has continued in his post-presidency.
Maloney also notes that her committee has been seeking a full accounting of the Secret Service’s expenditures at Trump-owned properties for more than two years but still has not received complete information on nightly rates or the total amount the agency spent, which “appears to exceed $1.4 million of taxpayer money.”
The committee is still seeking records from the Secret Service, noting the panel is looking at potential legislation to prevent “presidential self-dealing and profiteering, as well as to curb conflicts of interest by ensuring that future presidents are prevented from exercising undue influence on Secret Service spending.”
In a statement, Eric Trump said that “any services rendered to the United States Secret Service or other government agencies” at Trump-owned hotels “were at their request and were either provided at cost, heavily discounted or for free.”
The committee said the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service more than the government rate at least 40 times from January 2017 to September 2021.
One of those times was in March 2017 when the Trump Organization charged a nightly rate of $1,160 to stay at the Trump hotel in Washington, DC, to protect Eric Trump, who was promoting a golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club. According to the General Services Administration’s website, the per diem rate was $242 in March 2017 in Washington, DC.
In a statement, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the agency has received the letter from the committee but didn’t discuss the specific details.
“Safeguarding our protectees is part of the agency’s zero fail mission and our absolute highest priority. Protective details must always be within arm’s reach of a protective 24 hours a day and that requires us to travel to where they travel,” Guglielmi said.
This story has been updated with additional details.