US government paid Trump-owned Scottish golf resort $77,000 before his visit

The U.S. government reportedly forked over more than $77,000 to Trump Turnberry, Donald Trump’s reportedly unprofitable golf resort in Scotland, in the lead-up to the president’s recent stay at the property. 

Starting in April, the State Department paid $77,345.35 in several tranches to SLC Turnberry Ltd, the Trump company that owns the Scottish resort, reported Reuters on Wednesday. Citing federal government spending records, which were first reported by The Scotsman, the news agency said the payments were listed as being for “hotel rooms for VIP visit.”

It’s unclear whether all the payments were made to cover Trump’s recent stay at the resort. About $70,000 of the total amount was paid out in the days leading up to the president’s two-day visit to his property last week, Reuters said.

RELATED: President Trump's visit to Scotland met with protests

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President Trump's visit to Scotland met with protests
A protestor holds placards prior to the Scotland United Against Trump march through the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland on July 14, 2018, on the third day of US President Donald Trump's four-day UK visit. - US President Donald Trump wraps up a four-day visit to Britain, dominated by his blasting of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy, by spending the weekend in Scotland. (Photo by NEIL HANNA / AFP) (Photo credit should read NEIL HANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he walks on the course of his golf resort, in Turnberry, Scotland July 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
The "Baby Trump" balloon joins Scotland United Against Trump demonstrators at the "Carnival of Resistance" in Edinburgh, to protest against the visit of the US President Donald Trump to the UK. (Photo by Lesley Martin/PA Images via Getty Images)
Demonstrators prepare for a rally to protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to Britain, in Edinburgh, Scotland July 14, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Armed police officers stand on a roof near the golf resort owned by U.S. President Donald Trump, during Trump's stay at the resort, in Turnberry, Scotland July 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Police officers stand in the road near the golf resort owned by U.S. President Donald Trump, during Trump's stay at the resort, in Turnberry, Scotland July 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Police officers man a road block near the golf resort owned by U.S. President Donald Trump, during Trump's stay at the resort, in Turnberry, Scotland July 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Scotland United Against Trump demonstrators march through the Edinburgh to a "Carnival of Resistance" to protest against the visit of the US President Donald Trump to the UK. (Photo by Lesley Martin/PA Images via Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 14: People march holding anti-Trump signs while the U.S. President is visiting Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland as people gather to protest during his visit to the United Kingdom on July 14, 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday's meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump carries a golf club at his golf resort, in Turnberry, Scotland July 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 14: The Baby Trump Balloon floats in the middle of crowds holding anti-Trump signs while the U.S. President is visiting Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland as people gather to protest during his visit to the United Kingdom on July 14, 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday's meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 14: People march holding anti-Trump signs while the U.S. President is visiting Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland as people gather to protest during his visit to the United Kingdom on July 14, 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday's meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Scotland United Against Trump demonstrators attend the "Carnival of Resistance" in Edinburgh, to protest against the visit of the US President Donald Trump to the UK. (Photo by Lesley Martin/PA Images via Getty Images)
Scotland United Against Trump demonstrators gather at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh before marching through the city to a "Carnival of Resistance" to protest against the visit of the US President Donald Trump to the UK. (Photo by Lesley Martin/PA Images via Getty Images)
Scotland United Against Trump demonstrators gather at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh before marching through the city to a "Carnival of Resistance" to protest against the visit of the US President Donald Trump to the UK. (Photo by Lesley Martin/PA Images via Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 14: A child walks around anti-Trump signs while the U.S. President is visiting Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland as people gather to protest during his visit to the United Kingdom on July 14, 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday's meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A protestor holds a placard prior to the Scotland United Against Trump march through the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland on July 14, 2018, on the third day of US President Donald Trump's four-day UK visit. - US President Donald Trump wraps up a four-day visit to Britain, dominated by his blasting of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy, by spending the weekend in Scotland. (Photo by NEIL HANNA / AFP) (Photo credit should read NEIL HANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump, who’s come under scrutiny in the past for refusing to put his assets in a blind trust, has retained ownership of his hotels and other properties, including Turnberry (for which Trump shelled out more than $200 million in cash in 2014 to buy and renovate, and has been bleeding money for years).

Since Trump took office, his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have been in charge of the day-to-day operations of his businesses. Still, ethics experts and watchdog groups say the president has failed to abide by his promise to clearly separate his businesses from his administration. 

“This is another example of President Trump using the power and authority of his office to profit personally,” Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center, told The Scotsman, reacting to the news of the government’s hefty payments to Turnberry. 

“President Trump not only used the occasion of a state visit to promote his Trump-branded golf course, but told U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill,” Fischer said.

The Trump Organization told The Washington Post this week that Trump-owned properties do not profit from U.S. government business. 

“For United States government patronage, our hotels charge room rates only at cost and we do not profit from these stays,” the company said. 

Eric Trump echoed this position in a Wednesday tweet defending his father. 

“We charge our COST and do NOT profit from these stays. Much more would be spent if they stayed elsewhere,” he wrote, before suggesting the Trump business had actually done a “good deed.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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