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Trump Organization says it donated $151,470 to US Treasury

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 17:21:49-05

The Trump Organization says it donated more than $150,000 to the US Treasury, representing the profits it made at its hotels and similar properties from foreign governments over the past year.

President Donald Trump’s various business interests have raised concerns among ethics watchdogs. The Trump Organization’s announcement last month that it had delivered on a pledge to donate foreign government profits from its hotels to the US Treasury had raised questions due to its lack of immediate detail.

On Friday, the company said the voluntary donation totaled $151,470, according to a statement from George Sorial, the executive vice president and chief compliance counsel for the Trump Organization.

“This annual donation represents profits from foreign government patronage for the period beginning January 20, 2017 through December 31, 2017 and was calculated in accordance with our policy and the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry,” Sorial said in the statement. “Although not a legal requirement, this voluntary donation fulfills our pledge to donate profits from foreign government patronage at our hotels and similar business during President Trump’s term in office.”

Details about which countries the profits came from remain unclear.

The backlash from the initial announcement came as Trump critics argue he is defying an anti-corruption clause in the Constitution by accepting foreign government profits through his company.

In January 2017, just before taking office, Trump tried to address concerns over the possibility of foreign influence. During a news conference, one of his attorneys said Trump’s business would voluntarily donate all hotel profits derived from foreign governments to the US Treasury.

But months after that, the plan to donate those profits faced renewed scrutiny by watchdog groups when the Trump Organization conceded it was difficult to determine whether certain payments were attributable to foreign governments.

The issue is at the heart of multiple lawsuits against the President, one of which a New York court dismissed in December.