Government pays Mar-a-Lago for official’s stay, again raising Trump conflict-of-interest concerns

The U.S. government paid $1,092 for an official to stay at Mar-a-Lago during one of President Donald Trump’s trips there in March, according to documents obtained by the advocacy group Property of the People.

The National Security Council paid the full rate of $546 per night for the unidentified official’s two-night stay at the so-called “Winter White House” on March 3 and 4, the documents — which the Washington Post reported Friday — showed.

The government’s payment to Trump’s private Florida resort comes as the president faces longstanding concerns about his conflicts of interest — and, according to Property of the People’s Operation 45 project, “constitutes a direct, profitable payment from a U.S. government agency to a business personally owned by Donald Trump.”

RELATED: Instagram posts from Mar-a-Lago

22 PHOTOS
Instagram photos from President Trump's Mar-a-lago trips
See Gallery
Instagram photos from President Trump's Mar-a-lago trips
Don 👑 king
When DJT crashes your luncheon 😎 #makingamericagreatagain #twiceinarow
Such an honor to meet Dr. Charles Krauthammer!! What a brilliant man!! #maralago
About Last Night: Catching up with the one & only Don King!
I didn't take it! Really mr. Secrete service man it wasn't me!! Hehe
King of Pop Art with the Presidential Limo. Of course. We like to start at the top...and work our way up. Always! @brittopopart #Romero #Britto #RomeroBrittofineartgallery #RomeroBritto #BrittoTeam
Such an honor to meet our 45th President last night #MAGA
What a pleasure and an amazing experience it was to meet the President and First Lady. Truly inspirational. #bucketlist #trump #merica #florida #life #america #live #firstlady #takingovertheworld #2017 #fashion #model #photography #gotit #livelife #ontheedge #nofilter #nophotoshop
A Selfie with The First Lady... Imagine That! #chasethomaspalmbeach #celebritystylist #lotushairstudiowpb #melaniatrump #firstlady #gratitude
Mr Sunshine Eddy Shipek Red Cross Ball Mar A lago Palm Beach Winter White House President Donald Trump
Best birthday weekend ever!!! 😎🤗😜🎉🎊 #maga #makeamericagreatagain #HangingOutWithThePresident #donaldtrump #potus #maralago #HappyBirthdayToMe #apmfm #apmotorworks #soflo #redcross
The President waved! #potus #presidenttrump #palmbeach
Not a great shot but 10 feet away#trump #presidenttrump
Louie making new friends. 🇺🇸 #potus @realdonaldtrump #louielaurence
Shhhhuuuhhhhhhhh #airforceone
Last night at Mar a lago next to the Beast feeling so Presidential. #presidential #maralago #palmbeach #palmbeachbowtieguy #prep #preppy #mensvintage #fashion #style #menswear #mensfashion #mensstyle #dapper #gq #mensfashionreview #menswear #gentleman #gentlemen #ilovewpb #palmbeach #gqinsider #esquire #mensblogger #styleblog #menswardrobe #gqstylehunt #details #mensfashionpost #menwithclass
#MAGA #USA ☆☆☆
Meeting Trump At Mar-A-Largo!! #AngelsGuestList @therealdonaldtrump #trump #donaldtrump #thedonald #trumptrain #president #republican #presidenttrump #rightwing #maga #conservative #family #friends #hope #patriotism #military #christainity #freedom #sovereignty #americanexceptionalism #MakeAmericaGreatAgain
#donaldjtrump #valentinaaved #maralagopalmbeach #valentinastreasures326 #12018384838 villavalentina.123look.com
At #maralago with #vicepresident #mikepence
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“This is strong evidence of a violation by President Trump of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” the group said.

Trump has been repeatedly accused of violating the domestic emoluments clause, which stipulates that the “president shall, at stated times, receive for his services a compensation which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States or any of them.”

Trump placed his businesses in a trust operated by his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, when he took office, but can apparently withdraw funds and assets from it whenever he wants.

That’s led to allegations from critics that Trump is profiting off the presidency, with his properties — including Trump Tower in New York — frequently at the center of those allegations.

Mar-a-Lago came under scrutiny shortly after Trump’s inauguration when it was revealed the Palm Beach club had doubled its membership fees from $100,000 in 2016 to $200,000 in 2017. Then, in April, the State Department took heat for effectively promoting the president’s resort on its websites.

RELATED: Inside Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort

33 PHOTOS
Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort
See Gallery
Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 12: (MINIMUM PRICING APPLIES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) Place settings photographed before guests arrive for Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Trump's wedding reception at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf
Photo: Trump Golf

General view of the upper balcony area during Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon's wedding at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 11, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Michelle McMinn Photography/Getty Images)

View of the beach club pool at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, February 17, 2003.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

General view inside The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

American businessman Donald Trump talks with a group of Boy Scouts on a tour of the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1999.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

General view of the upper balcony area at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

General view of Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon's wedding reception at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

An American flag flies over Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago club November 1, 2006 in Palm Beach, Florida. The town of Palm Beach has cited Donald Trump because the flag is too big and does not meet the town's specifications. A hearing is scheduled.

(Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)

Grand interior reception at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Estate in Florida
Grand interior reception at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Estate in Florida
Party on the Moon performs during US President-elect Donald Trump's New Year's Eve party December 31, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 13: The Donald J. Trump Ballroom at the Mar-A-Lago Club' in Palm Beach where Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke after the Florida primary, March 13, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida (Photo by Brooks Kraft/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 1: Pool that Trump built at Mar-a-Lago. Photo by Mary Jordan/The Washington Post via Getty Images
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 1: The tiled patio at Mar-a-Lago, a focal point of the estate. Photo by Mary Jordan/The Washington Post via Getty Images
PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 28: A general view at the Mar-a-lago Club Pool view at the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on February 28, 2010 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)
View from an upper balcony of the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, September 4, 2010. The view looks south towards a newly constucted ballroom. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Marjorie Merriweather Post Hutton's home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Real estate developer Donald Trump (C) w. wife Ivana sitting in their home, Mar-a-Lago, w. household staff behind. (Photo by Ted Thai/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - JANUARY 29: The pool at Mar-A-Lago where cocktails were held for the International Red Cross Ball January 29, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)
Atmosphere during Art for Life Gala Honoring Sean P. Diddy Combs Hosted by Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Preparations are made before guests arrive for Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon?s wedding reception at The Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMER 12: (MINIMUM PRICING APPLIES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) Ivana Trump and guests attend the wedding ceremony of Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon at the Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMER 12: (MINIMUM PRICING APPLIES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE) Newlyweds Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon pose with the groomsmen and bridesmaids after the wedding ceremony of Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon at the Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michelle McMinn Photography/Getty Images)
Palm Beach-dining setting for the club members. Mar-a-lago is an estate and National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach built by the heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. It was envisioned as a winter retreat for presidents, but never used as such and in 1985 Donald Trump purchased it. The estate contains the Mar-a-lago private club, and a separate closed off area that serve as the Trumps family private quarters..............-the Estate showcases a sumptuous decorative style , everywhere you turned there were lavish accents, but all of these tied together with elegance and an undeniable regal style. I was amazed at the countless details, the estate is truly breathtaking. #palmbeach #maralago #lls #blacktie #gala #glamour #jetsetter #exclusive #liveauthentic #luxury #lifestyle #fashion
The closing day at the Cavallino, Classic Sports Sunday in #palmbeach #vintage #cars #pbir #trophy #cavallino #carshow #racecar #bugatti
Ready for a party #HappyFriday . . 📸: @adamoprisphotography
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Trump has also been chastised for his frequent, taxpayer-funded trips to the resort, where he’s hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. During the latter’s visit, Mar-a-Lago members had a front-row seat as Trump and his Japanese counterpart dealt with a North Korean missile test in the club’s members-only dining area.

The Trump administration on Friday released the names of 22 people related to Abe’s February visit, but refused to provide ethics watchdogs with the full visitor logs they’d requested via the Freedom of Information Act.

“The remaining records that the Secret Service has processed in response to the Mar-a-Lago request contain, reflect or otherwise relate to the president’s schedules,” the Department of Justice wrote to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “The government believes that presidential schedule information is not subject to FOIA.”

CREW and other groups in April filed a lawsuit against the government requesting the resort’s visitor logs after the Department of Homeland Security refused to respond to FOIA requests. A judge ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor this summer, ordering the administration to provide all Mar-a-Lago records from Jan. 20, 2017, to March 8, 2017.

In a statement Friday, CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder said the organization “vehemently” disagreed with the government’s position and vowed to fight the administration again in court.

“The government seriously misrepresented their intentions to both us and the court,” Bookbinder said. “This was spitting in the eye of transparency.”

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.