Maine taxpayers ponied up $22,000

Welcome to 1100 Pennsylvania, a newsletter devoted to President Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. (and his other companies). President Trump, of course, still owns his businesses and can profit from them.

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LePage and staff spent at least $22,000 of Maine taxpayers’ money at U.S. president’s hotel

From “Maine paid for 40 rooms at Trump hotel for LePage, staff” by Scott Thistle and Kevin Miller for The Portland Press Herald:

Former Gov. Paul LePage and his staff members paid for more than 40 rooms at Washington, D.C.’s Trump International Hotel during a two-year period, spending at least $22,000 in Maine taxpayer money at a business owned by the president’s family.

Documents recently obtained by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram show that the LePage administration paid anywhere from $362 to more than $1,100 a night for rooms at the luxury hotel during trips to meet with President Trump or his inner circle, attend White House events or talk to members of Congress. Receipts from those dozen trips also show the Republican governor or his administration spending hundreds of dollars on filet mignon or other expensive menu items at the restaurant in the Trump hotel. Those expenditures are likely to draw additional scrutiny from attorneys who have cited LePage’s previously disclosed stays at the D.C. hotel in a federal lawsuit alleging the president is improperly profiting from the business.

Not only have attorneys cited LePage’s stays, but so too has a judge: In March 2018, U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte mentioned one of LePage’s stints at the Trump Hotel D.C. when granting the D.C. and Maryland attorneys general standing to sue the president for violating the Constitution’s domestic emoluments clause:

In addition, at least one State—the State of Maine—patronized the Hotel when its Governor, Paul LePage, visited Washington to discuss official business with the Federal Government, including discussions with the President. Pls.’ Opp’n. at 8, ECF No. 46. Indeed, on one of those trips, the President and Governor LePage appeared together at a news conference at which the President signed an executive order to review orders of the prior administration that established national monuments within the National Park Service, which could apply to a park and national monument in Maine, which President Obama had established over LePage’s objections in 2016.

Via social media, your correspondent discovered two other LePage visits to the hotel back when they happened in 2018:

  • Here he posed with a lobbyist for the RV industry and the associate director for strategic initiatives at the Council for a Strong America, a law-enforcement nonprofit, on Feb. 7, 2018.

Inaugural committee’s financial records subpoenaed by New Jersey attorney general

From “NJ attorney general subpoenas Trump’s inaugural committee” by Jim Mustian for the Associated Press:

President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee received a sweeping request for financial records this week from prosecutors in New Jersey, the second subpoena the group has received in as many weeks as its fundraising and spending draws mounting scrutiny.

The committee said Friday that it is in contact with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which issued the request for documents on Monday as part of a civil inquiry into how the committee raised and spent $107 million on inaugural events.

Among that spending drawing scrutiny: $1.5 million at the Trump Hotel D.C., including $175,000 per day for event space.

Group lobbying for increase in visas that benefit Trump Org spotted again at Trump Hotel D.C.

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the 2018 Seasonal Employment Alliance H-2B fly-in, during which a group in D.C. to lobby for an increase in visas for temporary foreign workers—which the Trump Org relies on—got a sweet rate at the Trump Hotel D.C.

While searches to see if the group returned on the same weekend in 2019 yielded no results, it turns out the Seasonal Employment Alliance did hold a follow-up fly-in back in July 2018. And, yep, members were again at the Trump Hotel D.C., along with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–FL).

Campaign expenditures

On New Year’s Eve, both the Wyoming and Texas Republican parties spent money at Trump properties. It was $562.11 on lodging for Wyoming at the Trump Hotel D.C. and $708.51 on travel for Texas at Doral.

The campaign for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R–OK) spent $75.80 at the Trump Hotel D.C. for food and beverage on Dec. 13, 2018.

Noteworthy sightings

J.D. Durkin of Cheddar shared a photo of the president pulling up to an omelette bar at his Palm Beach golf club:

Sunday’s Politico Playbook spotted Trump admin staffers, a Trump Org alum, and other notables at Mar-a-Lago:

SPOTTED dining at a Mar-a-Lago last night: President Trump and the First Lady; Bill Belichick; Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her husband Bryan; Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Hilary Ross; U.S. ambassador to South Africa nominee Lana Marks; Lois Pope; Nick Owens; Anthony Pratt; and Keith Schiller.

The press pool reported yet more Trump administration staffers at Mar-a-Lago:

This afternoon, President Trump will meet with members of his trade team and receive an update on the ongoing talks with China. Ambassador Lighthizer, Secretary Ross, Mick Mulvaney, and Peter Navarro will join the President in person at Mar-a-Lago.

The pool also saw Eric Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Sunday.

And Fox News’s Gina Loudon spent the weekend in Mar-a-Lago’s Ivanka suite. Ivanka is an advisor to the U.S. president, who owns Mar-a-Lago.

Former Breitbart London editor-in-chief and current associate of Nigel Farage and Steve Bannon, Raheem Kassam, and Fox News pundit and Trump campaign advisor Harlan Hill stood at the D.C. hotel in front of The Hill Live’s Jessica Grose; White House staffer turned One America News Network correspondent, Gabrielle Cuccia; and a special assistant at the office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (a political appointee of the president/innkeeper’s), Alexandra Seymour.

A trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s national courts section (at least as of November), Kara Westercamp was back at the Trump Hotel D.C. She was not happy when FOIA requests were submitted to see if she spent government funds or was conducting official business on a previous visit. (One request is being appealed after the DOJ said Westercamp does not maintain a calendar; a FOIA for a subsequent visit is still outstanding.) Also, it appears Westercamp’s LinkedIn profile is no longer publicly available.

A legislative assistant with the American Legion, Lindsay Dearing, shared video of her bubbly.

Other Trump Organization news

House investigations, current status (latest change, Feb. 18, 2019)

  • Financial ServicesSent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24.

  • Foreign Affairs—Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D–NY) “plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process” per CNN on Jan 23.

  • Intelligence—On Feb. 6, chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) issued a statement that said his committee would investigate links or coordination between the Russian government/related foreign actors and individuals associated with Trump’s businesses as well as if foreign actors sought to compromise or hold leverage over Trump’s businesses. During an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee will investigate Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, a major lender for the Trump Organization. Earlier, on Jan. 24, the committee sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank.

  • UPDATED Oversight and Reform—Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D–MD) staff “has already sent out 51 letters to government officials, the White House, and the Trump Organization asking for documents related to investigations that the committee may launch,” according to CBS News on Jan. 13. In a Feb. 15 letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said the committee received documents showing a White House attorney and one of Trump’s personal attorneys provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.”

  • Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management—Transportation committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and subcommittee chair Dina Titus (D–NV) sent a letter to GSA administrator Emily Murphy on Jan. 22 asking for all communication between the GSA and the members of the Trump family dating back to 2015, an explanation of how the hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened in 2016, any guidance from the White House regarding the lease, and whether or not Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are recused from participating in decisions regarding the property. DeFazio and Titus requested a reply by Feb. 8. When hearings begin, it is likely that Murphy will be the first person called to testify, according to a person familiar with the subcommittee’s plans.

  • Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight—The subcommittee held its first hearing on “legislative proposals and tax law related to presidential and vice-presidential tax returns” on Feb. 7. “We will ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking the highest office in our country obeys tax law?” said chair Rep. John Lewis (D–GA). Experts in tax law testified.

Legal cases, current status (latest change, Feb. 7, 2019)

Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)

  • ❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site

  • ❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018

  • ❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site

One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)

“The Business of Being Bob Dylan” by Eli Ellison for Work + Money

Thanks for reading. If you like what you see, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a paying member ($5/month or $50/year). If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe for yourself at zacheverson.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ/manifesto. Tips or feedback? Contact me, Zach Everson, securely via email at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com or on Signal at 202.804.2744.