Trump and promises – ask his ex-wives.
And this can be added to the growing list of broken promises coming from Donald Trump. You know… those things conservatives warned the Trumplican wing of the Republican party about.
In order to avoid any conflicts of interest, Trump promised to donate all proceeds his properties receive from foreign governments back to the U.S. Treasury.
But MSNBC has learned the Trump Organization is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments, according to new admissions by Trump representatives. By failing to track foreign payments it receives, the company will be hard-pressed to meet Trump’s pledge to donate foreign profits and could even increase its legal exposure.
The Trump Organization does not “attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity,” according to a new company pamphlet. The policy suggests that it is up to foreign governments, not Trump hotels, to determine whether they self-report their business.
So… don’t ask, don’t tell?
The U.S. Constitution bars foreign gifts to the president. In January, Trump pledged to track and donate all profits at his companies from foreign government travel and commerce.
Sheri Dillon, an attorney for the Trump organization, said during a January news conference the president-elect had directed that hotel profits from foreign governments would be donated to the U.S. Treasury because “he wants to do more than what the Constitution requires.”
That’s so awesome! The thing is, without action, some sort of plan in place, it’s just another lie empty campaign promise.
An open federal case in New York alleges the Trump Organization is in violation of that Emoluments Clause in the Constitution that bars foreign gifts to the president.
You’d think with this hanging over them, they’d want to be a little more on top of this particular conundrum.
I actually don’t think anyone without Trump’s circle thinks that far ahead.
In fact, a pamphlet for the Trump Organization states that the company has no plan to calculate the foreign payments, specifically, but that they would “estimate” the payments.
Trump’s people insist he doesn’t actually have to turn over any payments from foreign governments to his properties, but that they’re agreeing to do it out of “an abundance of caution.”
A Trump representative said that “the pertinent accounting rules” are well understood in the hospitality industry. But experts told MSNBC that there is no standard accounting system to track profits from foreign dignitaries.
Most hotels in the United States prepare financial statements in accordance with the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry. While the system tracks customers, it does not track guests’ professions.
In theory, Trump Hotels could create specialized codes to flag when a foreign diplomat books a room or buys hotel services.
Or, Trump’s hotels could offer a “government rate,” like other hotels.
The State Department issues diplomats “mission tax exemption cards,” which provide a point-of-sale exemption from sales tax on goods and services, including hotel rooms, across the United States. The Trump organization could keep track of foreign government payments based on which guests are using the mission tax exemption card.
Jim Abrams, a legal adviser with the California Hotel & Lodging Association, suggested that the Trump Organization post on its hotel websites a notice to foreign dignitaries asking that they notify the hotel if they plan to book a room. That would be the cleanest way to do it,” he said.
I actually doubt Trump’s people are clueless about government rates and exemption cards. Seriously. If it’s something that’s common in the hospitality industry and could benefit those businesses, I would imagine any who have been in the business as long as the Trump family, they’ve at least heard of it.
That, or we now have to believe that our president is as clueless about his lifelong family business as he is about our government.
And it’s going to get him in a lot of ethical trouble.