Saturday, November 26, 2016

Donald Trump profiting off of Secret Service, billing taxpayers millions

Posted By on Sat, Nov 26, 2016 at 4:11 PM

click to enlarge CHA-CHING: Trump's corporation set to profit off of taxpayers for Secret Service protection.
  • CHA-CHING: Trump's corporation set to profit off of taxpayers for Secret Service protection.

The plutocrat Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, has said he won't take a salary as president ($400,000 a year). However, he will be directly billing taxpayers for millions of dollars a year because of a few unusual arrangements.

For one, Trump has suggested that he may spend an unprecedented amount of time away from the White House at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York, and does not plan to move his wife or his 10-year-old son into the White House until at least the spring. As a result, the New York Post reports, the Secret Service is in negotiation with the Trump Organization to rent out two floors of Trump Tower as a 24-7 command post, at a cost likely around $3 million per year (CNN reports one floor, at a cost of $1.5 million). That rent goes to, well, the owner of Trump Tower. Whatever the final rental price, taxpayers will be paying into the pockets of Donald J. Trump.

Trump similarly profits off of his private plane. Matthew Yglesias at Vox explains:
When he’s president, Donald Trump will fly on Air Force One. Which means the Boeing 757 that Trump owns through a holding company will be free for use by Ivanka, Melania, Eric, Donald Jr., or whomever else. And if Trump requests Secret Service protection for those people, he will probably get it. And when Secret Service agents fly alongside a protectee, they use their budget to pay airfare. Which in the case of a flight on the Trump jet would mean paying Trump for the seats on his plane.

In other words, by asking for Secret Service protection for family members who fly on his plane, Donald Trump can directly funnel taxpayer money into his own pocket.
If that sounds crazy, Trump already pulled off this little scam during the campaign. He charged taxpayers $1.6 million—billing Secret Service agents for their seats to protect him on his plane. That's only known because Federal Election Commission filings demanded disclosure. There will be no such requirement when Trump is president, and nothing stopping him from bilking taxpayers out of millions via gratuitous use of the private plane and charging Secret Service agents for their seats.

Ultimately, this is the small stuff. Trump gives every indication that he has no scruples about running the U.S. government as a kleptocracy, using his influence and power to enrich the Trump Organization. Don't miss the the deep-dive investigative reporting from the New York Times today on Trump's staggering conflicts of interest around the globe.

(One other note on Trump Tower: Every day that the Trumps are in the Tower also costs the New York Police Department $1 million per day in additional security, according to CNN.)

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