Close to 200 political groups and campaigns, almost all of them conservative, have spent more than $8 million at President Donald Trump’s lavish hotels and businesses since the 2016 presidential election, according to Politico.
Yet, between 2012 and 2014, political groups and campaigns spent a combined $69,000 at Trump properties, according to a yet-to-be-released report from the liberal-leaning consumer rights group Public Citizen.
The Democrat-led impeachment inquiry is seeking to discover whether or not Trump has illegally profited from his businesses while in office. House Democrats say that Republicans are spending money at his businesses in order to win his favor, and to an extent, gain access to him.
“President Trump has perfected the financial shakedown of people seeking political influence as a way of life,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who sits on the House Oversight Committee. “This is now standard operating procedure in Washington. It’s pay-to-play all day.”
While the Trump Organization has frequently voiced that Trump is not involved in the day-to-day operations of his businesses, he has ignored public calls to fully separate from his holdings.
However, not only are political groups and campaigns attempting to gain access to the president, but at least another 179 foreign governments, businesses, trade associations, and religious entities have frequented Trump properties.
Public Citizen, which gathers data from Federal Election Commission records, notes that 28 foreign governments, 41 conservative advocacy organizations, 51 businesses or business groups, 16 charities, 16 religious groups, 12 state or local groups, nine foreign businesses or business groups, and six police of fire organizations are included.