House investigators are looking into an allegation that groups — including at least one foreign government — tried to ingratiate themselves to President Donald Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them.
“Now we’re looking at near raw bribery,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a House Oversight Committee member who chairs the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Trump’s hotel in Washington. “That was the risk from day one — foreign governments and others trying to seek favor because we know Trump pays attention to this…. It’s an obvious attempt to curry favor with him.”
The so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution forbids Trump from profiting from foreign governments, or from receiving any money from the U.S. government aside from his annual salary.
Rep. Ro Khanna, (D-Calif.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, said if Trump or his staff solicited the hotel reservations they could have broken the law. But even if they didn’t, it’s still a problem.