Goodbye 1100 Pennsylvania—hello Forbes

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." – Hunter S. Thompson

1100 Pennsylvania newsletter wraps today. Your correspondent has joined Forbes as a staff writer with an expanded beat and new newsletter.

After 455 dispatches, today marks 1100 Pennsylvania’s final issue. I am thrilled to (finally) share that two weeks ago I joined Forbes as a staff writer covering money and politics.

That beat includes Forbes’s new Checks & Imbalances newsletter. “Tipping the scales toward transparency by investigating money in politics,” Checks & Imbalances will continue to report on Trump, but I’ve broadened my focus to follow the money connected to other politicians as well—both Republicans and Democrats.

The inaugural issue of Checks & Imbalances is set to appear in your inboxes this morning you received this dispatch.

What this change means for you

  • If you’re a paid subscriber to 1100 Pennsylvania, your subscription carries over to Forbes with the same terms. That is, if you have three weeks left on you monthly paid subscription to 1100 Pennsylvania, that’s how much time remains on your Checks & Imbalances subscription.

  • If you’d signed up just for the free issues of 1100 Pennsylvania, you’ll receive three free weeks of complete access to Checks & Imbalances. If you haven’t paid for a subscription by the end of that trial, you’ll just get Checks & Imbalances’ free issues on Thursdays—and miss out on the exclusive reporting published on Mondays and Saturdays. The price is $8.99 a month or $79.99 a year. (Why the increase from 1100 Pennsylvania? Checks & Imbalances appears in a well-resourced publication rather than on a platform and is a better product.)

  • There’s no need for any action on your part—unless you’re on the free list and want to upgrade to a paid subscription.

  • 1100 Pennsylvania’s archives remain right where they are and are accessible to anyone with a paid subscription as of June 5. If you’re a future person who’s not a paid subscriber and wants access to all the old stuff, email me or my estate at 1100pennsylvania@protonmail.com.

The many, many benefits of Forbes

Journalists jettisoning staff positions to publish indie newsletters on Substack is a bit of a trend these days. But going the opposite way and joining Forbes is clearly the best move for my reporting.

For starters, I now have an editor who I’m excited to be working with: the meticulous Dan Alexander, who literally wrote the book on Trump turning his presidency into a business. And joining Forbes means my reporting also benefits from a wealth of talented colleagues and resources, as well as an engaged community of millions.

After four years of focusing on President Trump’s business, I’m eager to dig into money connected to other politicians as well—both Republicans and Democrats.

(And on a personal note, it’s really cool to write for a publication you saw on your grandfather’s table as a kid.)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who subscribed to 1100 Pennsylvania—it means so much to me and I’m eager to continue reporting for you—as well as those who sent in a tip, shared this work, sent words of encouragement, and otherwise supported the newsletter,

Also, much appreciation to the other journalists who championed 1100 Pennsylvania, especially in its early days when I wasn’t sure how much interest there’d be in a travel writer’s compendium of screenshots.

Particular thanks to David Fahrenthold (Fun fact: I set an alert for every time he tweeted so I’d know when he was using Twitter. When I got a notification, I’d tweet a link to 1100 Pennsylvania in the hopes he’d see it and retweet it to his legions of followers. Sorry for cluttering up your timeline, Dave.), Jonathan O’Connell, Andrea Bernstein, Ilya Marritz, Meg Cramer, Ana Marie Cox, Katie Rogers, Eric Lipton, Karen Yourish, Michael Isikoff, Hunter Walker, Jeffrey Toobin, Andréa Schmidt, Martyn McLaughlin, everyone at The Beat with Ari Melber and All In with Chris Hayes, Dave Levinthal, Meredith Bennett-Smith, Nicolas Buechse, François Miguet, Katelyn Fossett, Blake Hounshell, Josh Bernstein, Ben Landy, Clara Jeffrey, David Corn, Daniel Schulman, Russ Choma, Rob Crilly, Christine Stapleton, David Frum, Marcus Baram, Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, and of course Dan Alexander.

Thanks to my parents for paying for their subscription even though I offered them a comp. And apologies (again) to my wife and kids that my days of taking them on Disney Cruises and glamping trips for work are over.

House Dems have Trump Hotel's monthly financial statements

With a Trump appointee no longer heading GSA, agency provided House committee long sought-after info about Trump’s D.C. hotel’s performance

After 11 requests, Democrats leading a House committee with oversight of the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease have obtained the business’s financial statements from the General Services Administration.

What changed? The latest ask was the first the representatives made when the leaseholder of the government-owned building that houses the hotel was no longer the U.S. president.

On Friday in a filing made in a different case, the Justice Department disclosed that GSA, which manages the lease, provided “certain materials…on a confidential basis” about the Trump Hotel D.C.—including its monthly financial statements—on May 5 to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The contents of the department’s letter were first reported by Jeremy Herb and Katelyn Polantz for CNN.

In March, the chair of that panel, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and the chair of a subcommittee with oversight of the government’s real estate programs, Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), had asked GSA Acting Administrator Katy Kale for the Trump Hotel D.C.’s financial reports, communication between the agency and the White House regarding the hotel, and internal memos regarding the legality of the lease.

The Trump Organization’s lease of the Old Post Office includes a provision requiring profit sharing with the taxpayers if certain revenue thresholds are met. But Trump-era GSA officials testified that the agency had not audited the financial info the hotel is required to furnish. And the Trump appointee heading GSA, Emily Murphy, repeatedly refused to provide unredacted financial information to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee—even defying a subpoena from DeFazio.

According to Friday’s court filing, however, GSA is still declining to provide requested legal memoranda, claiming the documents constitute “confidential internal executive branch legal advice.” As for the materials the agency did provide, it asked lawmakers not to disclose the information as it contains “trade secrets or confidential commercial or financial information that is exempt from public release.”

A spokesperson for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee declined to share details about the trove or what the panel’s next steps may be.

The Justice Department’s filing that revealed the extent of GSA’s cooperation came in a suit brought by the House Oversight Committee that also seeks documents regarding the Trump Hotel D.C.


Trump Hotel D.C. jacked up prices ahead of Qanon key date in March to prevent believers from booking rooms, report

From Trump hotel purposely spiked prices to keep out QAnon supporters, hacked police data reveals” by Mikael Thalen for The Daily Dot [bold added]:

The Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. purposely spiked its prices in March in an effort to keep out supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory, hacked police data reveals.

In a Feb. 8 intelligence briefing posted to the dark web on Thursday by the Babuk ransomware gang, which hacked Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) last month, the MPD Intelligence Division reveals that it contacted the hotel after news reports noted the unexplained price hike.

As 1100 Pennsylvania reported on Feb. 5 when it broke the story of the Trump Hotel D.C.’s rate spike:

From 1793 to 1933, U.S. presidents typically were inaugurated on March 4. The date changed to January 20 upon ratification of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933. And after Democrats weren’t rounded up and executed on Jan. 20, 2021 as Qanon lore had foretold, many believers of the con simply pushed back the date of the storm to March 4.

Meanwhile, the lowest available room rates on March 3 and 4 at the Trump Hotel D.C. are more than double the prices for any other day that month according to the hotel’s website.

Rates at the Trump Hotel D.C. also spiked around the Jan. 6 rally that led to the insurrection at the Capitol. Although in that instance, the cost doesn’t appear to have prevented many bookings: the hotel’s manager boasted that the in-room dining team enjoyed “record breaking numbers” that week.


Annual Tea for Trump at namesake’s hotel canceled after organizer died

An annual birthday celebration at the Trump Hotel D.C. for Donald J. Trump has been canceled after the event’s organizer died.

Alice Butler-Short, the owner of Virginia Women for Trump, died on March 30, according to an obituary on the website for an Alexandria, Virginia funeral chapel and confirmed by one of Butler-Short’s friends.

A private company that often described itself as “not-for-profit,” Virginia Women for Trump hosted an annual Tea for Trump birthday celebration at the Trump Hotel D.C. since 2017 (the 2018 renewal featured a MAGA-themed fashion show scored in part to North Korea’s national anthem).

This year’s party has been canceled and refunds are being given per the celebration’s Eventbrite listing. Tickets had cost $135 to $5,000. The 2021 Tea for Trump had been scheduled for June 13 with former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and The MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell headlining.

Butler-Short was most recently in the news after organizing a Jan. 5 rally in front of the Supreme Court in support of Trump’s Big Lie that the election had been stolen, according to a report by Paul P. Murphy and Marshall Cohen for CNN.


Campaign expenditures

The campaign for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) paid $1,520.96 to Trump Palm Beach for registration on April 12. The expenditure appears to have been the Paul campaign’s first at a Trump property.


Other notable sightings

A glimpse of the foreign officials, government employees, politicians, lobbyists, and the like who patronize or appear at Trump businesses. Most people shown here have reasons to want to influence the former president, rely on his good graces for their livelihoods, or should have been providing oversight. Additionally, high-profile guests serve as draws for paying customers.

Audra Johnson, a Republican candidate for U.S. House in Michigan, met with freedom fighters at the former president’s D.C. hotel.

Former Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services Michael Caputo celebrated his health with a photo from his former boss’s resort.


Other Trump Organization news


Reference section

Links to rundowns of developments in the House’s investigations and lawsuits, reference sheets for some of 1100 Pennsylvania’s previous reporting, and articles that provide the background on why all of this matters. The date published or last updated is in parentheses.

Trackers

Notable customers

Summaries

  • Stay to play: Inside the sordid history of Trump’s D.C. hotel—And why the president’s prized property could be headed for a reckoning” by your correspondent for Mother Jones (September 2020)

  • Power tripping in the swamp: How Trump’s D.C. hotel swallowed Washington
    The MAGA social scene is a movable feast, but its dark heart resides within the Old Post Office Building, where the Trump Org operates under a mercenary charter” by your correspondent for Vanity Fair (October 2019)

  • Inside the world’s most controversial hotel: The hotel that was expected to take its place among the crown jewels of D.C.’s travel scene has become a magnet for protestors, a West Wing Annex, and—possibly—the center of a constitutional crisis.” by your correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler (May 2018)

Upcoming key dates

  • Sept. 23, 2019—House Judiciary Committee hearing “Presidential corruption: Emoluments and profiting off the presidency” (postponed, not yet rescheduled)


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Questions? Read our FAQ. Tips or feedback? Contact Zach Everson at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com (it’ll be encrypted if you also use a ProtonMail account, which is free) or via Signal (secure), SMS, or mobile at 202.804.2744.

12 percent of GOP senators have visited Mar-a-Lago since Trump left office

At least six Republican senators, 15 representatives have dropped in on the former president’s resort-home

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) dined with former President Donald J. Trump Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago, bringing to at least six the number of GOP senators who have visited his private club-cum-residence since he left office.

House Republicans have called on Mar-a-Lago at a clip just lower than that of their cohorts in the upper chamber, according to 1100 Pennsylvania’s running analysis. At least 15 of 212 congresspeople (7 percent) haven been there since House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sent the message that it was acceptable to still visit a Trump business after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

Additionally, Mar-a-Lago has hosted at least two sitting Republican governors, three gubernatorial challengers, three candidates for U.S. Senate, and nine aspirants for the U.S. House.

Several of these elected officials and candidates held campaign events at Mar-a-Lago, directly helping the GOP standard-bearer profit. And all of these dignitaries have served as draws for the club’s members and other customers.

Trump’s nearby golf courses in Palm Beach and Doral have witnessed an influx of GOP notables as well.

Here’s the latest batch of notable sightings.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) let the world know he enjoyed a great dinner with Trump Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago.

A GOP candidate for governor in New Jersey, pastor Phil Rizzo enjoyed a remembrance while at the former president’s house. Rizzo is a member of Trump Bedminster, reported David Wildstein for The New Jersey Globe.

Republican candidate for U.S. House in Florida and “proud Islamophobe” (as Jared Holt reported for Right Wing Watch) Laura Loomer enjoyed another photo op with the former president at his house.

At Mar-a-Lago, a GOP candidate for a U.S. House seat in Florida, Cory Mills, landed the coveted Trump fist bump and reciprocal finger point.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller popped up at the former president’s home, which is not in Texas.

At Mar-a-Lago last week, former leader of the U.K. Independence Party and one-time member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage checked out the ex-president and approved.

Former U.S. Ambassadors Randy Evans (Luxembourg), Peter Hokestra (the Netherlands), Lana Marks (South Africa), and Carla Sands (Denmark) lunched and breakfasted (?) at their former benefactor’s business. Sands is weighing a run for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, reported Jonathan Tamari for The Philadelphia Inquirer. [H/T @SpaSuzy]

Meanwhile, Newsmax personality John Cardillo noted that “Trump DC, in fact all of DC, is a ghost town.”


Reference section

Links to rundowns of developments in the House’s investigations and lawsuits, reference sheets for some of 1100 Pennsylvania’s previous reporting, and articles that provide the background on why all of this matters. The date published or last updated is in parentheses.

Trackers

Notable customers

Summaries

  • Stay to play: Inside the sordid history of Trump’s D.C. hotel—And why the president’s prized property could be headed for a reckoning” by your correspondent for Mother Jones (September 2020)

  • Power tripping in the swamp: How Trump’s D.C. hotel swallowed Washington
    The MAGA social scene is a movable feast, but its dark heart resides within the Old Post Office Building, where the Trump Org operates under a mercenary charter” by your correspondent for Vanity Fair (October 2019)

  • Inside the world’s most controversial hotel: The hotel that was expected to take its place among the crown jewels of D.C.’s travel scene has become a magnet for protestors, a West Wing Annex, and—possibly—the center of a constitutional crisis.” by your correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler (May 2018)

Upcoming key dates

  • Sept. 23, 2019—House Judiciary Committee hearing “Presidential corruption: Emoluments and profiting off the presidency” (postponed, not yet rescheduled)

  • March 30, 2021—Deadline for GSA to provide information on the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee


Give a gift subscription

Questions? Read our FAQ. Tips or feedback? Contact Zach Everson at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com (it’ll be encrypted if you also use a ProtonMail account, which is free) or via Signal (secure), SMS, or mobile at 202.804.2744.

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