If you were expecting a review of last night’s debate I’m sorry to disappoint but you won’t find it here; at least not today. If you want to understand the Trump administration my long held belief is that you must begin by viewing it as an organized criminal enterprise. The subject matter of today’s article is one of the best scams I have ever heard of. (But not the best; that one was told to me decades ago by a man who claims to have participated in it and is himself dead for many years now. I don’t know if it was true but I have reason to believe it and he was reputed to be connected and never denied it.) Let’s explore.
On October 2nd Politico published an Anita Kumar article entitled: A Trump hotel mystery: Giant reservation followed by empty rooms. Kumar’s reporting discovered that the House is investigating reports of multiple occasions of groups making mass room reservations at Trump hotels only to not use the vast majority of the rooms. They still paid for them (revenue received); they just didn’t use them (cost to Trump = zero). Therefore Trump made the entire room rate as a profit. Basically this is a way to give money to Trump sans the brown paper bag; in other words, a pretty good scam that at first glance appears to be legitimate.
At least one of the groups is reportedly a foreign government which certainly thickens the plot. Receiving an under the table payment is not only a crime; it is an impeachable offense if the receiver is a federal official (i.e. president of the United States). If the payor is domestic it is a violation of Article II, section 1, clause 6 of the Constitution which reads, “The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither increase nor diminish during the period for which he shall be elected, and he shall not receive within that period any emolument from the United States, or any of them.” Among other things that means a sitting president can’t accept a cash payment (i.e. a payment for an empty room at a hotel he owns.)
If the payor is foreign that violates Article I, section 9, clause 8 of the Constitution more commonly known as the Emoluments Clause which reads, “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of Congress, accept any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign State.” Boiling that one down it means a sitting president can’t take a foreign bribe (i.e. payment for a service not rendered).
No show jobs have long been an illegal way to pay people off. I don’t want to give you a brown paper bag full of money but I put you, a family member or a girlfriend that you don’t want your wife to know about on the payroll and really would prefer they never show up for work. If you can see the difference between reserving and paying for say 100 rooms while only using 10 (as we previously agreed on) and a no show job please let me know. In either event you are giving me or my designee money for nothing.
This aspect of the Trump hotel scandal doesn’t even touch on the trips federal employees are taking that include stays at Trump hotels. We know that military personnel have stayed at foreign Trump hotels that were not the optimal location for them to accomplish their missions. We know Vice President Mike Pence stayed at a Trump owned hotel 180 miles away from where he was conducting business in Ireland. That’s like doing business in Buffalo but spending the night before and after in Syracuse. I’m familiar with both cities and only a fool or someone up to no good would do that.
The Trump scandals are coming so fast that it is impossible for the media to stay on top of each development; I hope the House can. I don’t know how much we will hear about this particular situation but I know it violates at least two provisions of the Constitution and is a good candidate for inclusion as an article of impeachment.
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