President Trump’s Turnberry resort, military spending probed by House
WASHINGTON – Democrats on a House panel are investigating increased military spending at President Donald Trump’s struggling golf resort at Turnberry in Scotland, according to a newly discovered letter.
The June letter sent from the House Oversight Committee to then-acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, which was obtained by USA TODAY and first published by Politico on Friday evening, details the months-long investigation into military spending at the resort, which the committee says “increased substantially since the election.”
Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., note in the letter that from October 2017 to June of this year, there have been 629 purchase orders for fuel at the nearby Glasgow Prestwick Airport, totaling $11 million. The airport, which the Democrats note is integral to the resort’s financial success, has also struggled financially in recent years and is in the midst of being sold, according to the BBC.
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Politico noted that U.S. military refueling at the airport is not typical and likely more expensive as fuel is cheaper at military bases compared with commercial airports. The outlet notes that bases in Germany, Spain, Italy and even a base in the U.K., which was the closest to the Scotland resort, have been used more typically for refueling on overseas missions.
The letter also cites a Guardian article detailing that the airport has offered rooms at Trump’s resort for a lower price to military members, along with free rounds of golf. In 2017, the resort lost $4.5 million, the Washington Post reported, but the following year revenue went up $3 million, notes Politico.
“Given the President’s continued financial stake in his Scotland golf course, these reports raise questions about the President’s potential receipt of U.S. or foreign government emoluments in violation of the U.S. Constitution and raise other serious conflict of interest concerns,” the letter states.
The House panel requested a variety of documents from the Department of Defense, including all communications between the department and officials working at the resort or linked to it.
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But the committee hasn’t received any documents in the months since the letter was sent. The administration has consistently pushed back on House investigations and resisted complying with such requests, which has forced Democrats to ask the courts to intervene.
“The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation,” a senior Democratic committee aide said on Saturday. “The Committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.”
More: Losses at Trump’s Scottish golf resorts double
The president and the Trump Organization have been criticized repeatedly over reports detailing foreign nationals staying at the properties. That has intensified recently as Trump boasted that he wanted to hold the G-7 Summit at his Doral resort in Miami and questions about Vice President Mike Pence’s recent stay at Trump’s Ireland resort.
But this would be the first time questions have been raised about whether the military was helping boost profits for Trump’s business.
The investigation is just one of many led by House Democrats since taking the majority in the 2018 elections. Among the list of other issues liberals are examining: the separation of migrant families at the southern U.S. border, Trump’s personal tax returns, the addition of a citizenship question on the Census and hush-money payments to two women who alleged affairs with the president.