WASHINGTON (CN) – Taxpayer money has been used to pay for more than 600 rooms at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, according to a letter released Wednesday by the House Oversight Committee.
In June, the committee first requested documents from the Department of Defense relating to travel expenses at the resort, and it renewed the request earlier this month after failing to receive a response. The department complied with the committee’s latest request last week and produced 21 documents – half of which were publicly-available – which the letter called “woefully inadequate.”
“The Department asserted that the average cost of a room for military servicemembers at Trump Turnberry between August 2017 and July 2019 was $189. The Department also asserted that, during this same time period, expenditures ‘specifically associated with the Trump Turnberry … Amounted to $124,578.96,’” the letter states. “If both of these claims are accurate, it appears that U.S. taxpayer funds were used to purchase the equivalent of more than 650 rooms at Trump Turnberry just since August 2017 – or the equivalent of one room every night for more than one-and-a-half years.”
This estimate does not include an additional $59,729 in unspecified charges, the letter states, which totals military spending at the resort to more than $184,000. The estimate also does not include rates that may have exceeded the average price of a room reported by the department, according to the letter.
Materials provided by the department also list varying rates and charges at the resort; the highest were $668 and 45 separate charges for $309, or similar amounts. The letter states that it is unclear whether the charges were related to multi-night stays or nightly rates.
Documents also show the department spent more than $16.6 million on fuel at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, the letter states, indicating the rate for a gallon of fuel as $3.38. The department did not provide comparative information on fuel rates at non-commercial sites.
The Department of Defense failed to provide to the committee communications with President Donald Trump referring to the airport or his resort. The department referred that request to the White House, the letter states.
The requested documents are part of the committee’s investigation into the Trump administration’s alleged violation of the Emoluments Clause, a constitutional rule that makes it illegal for a sitting president to accept gifts from a foreign state without congressional approval.
“Without the requested invoices and other documents, the Committee cannot assess the full extent of payments in violation of the Emoluments Clause. In addition, the Committee cannot answer basic questions, such as how many military personnel were involved and who authorized their stays,” the letter states.
The department will have until September 27 to produce the remaining documents requested by the committee.
“With respect to emails and other communications, the President claims that he has had nothing to do with these matters, so it is unclear why the Department is coordinating its response with the White House, why the Department is not producing these documents to Congress, and on what basis the Department is still withholding this information from the American people,” the letter states. “In addition, the Committee cannot answer basic questions, such as how many military personnel were involved and who authorized their stays.”