Big Money Mike: Pence's PAC spent another $36,000
Welcome to 1100 Pennsylvania, a newsletter devoted to President Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. (and his other companies). President Trump, of course, still owns his businesses and can profit from them.
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Pence’s PAC has spent more than $160,000 at his boss’s hotel
Vice president Mike Pence’s Great America Committee PAC spent $36,256.40 at the Trump Hotel D.C. in December 2018 and January 2019 according to its latest FEC filing. Those disbursements bring Pence’s PAC’s total spending at the president’s D.C. hotel to at least $160,605.60.
Dave Levinthal of The Center for Public Integrity provided perspective:
Trump reportedly has told his advisors he wants to keep Pence on the ticket.
House Oversight Committee likely to ask Cohen about hotel
Yesterday, the majority staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform outlined the scope of its planned Feb. 27, 2019 hearing with former Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen. While many of the topics could touch on the president’s D.C. hotel, the venue was called out specifically in the memo:
Report: Hotel wanted $3.6 million for inauguration
From “Trump inaugural committee challenged vendor requests and budgeting, documents show” by Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Rebecca Ballhaus for The Wall Street Journal:
The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., at first sought $3.6 million for eight days of space and food, according to a December 2016 email, which was forwarded by one inaugural organizer to her colleagues. The organizer wrote: “Ummm…” The committee ultimately paid $1.5 million from Dec. 1 through the inauguration, according to an inaugural official.
And “Trump’s inaugural team scrambled to defend staff and record haul” by Caleb Melby for Bloomberg describes how the committee tried to control the fallout a year after the inauguration:
To get everyone on the same page, a team reporting to inaugural chairman Thomas Barrack came up with more than 60 questions and answers to circulate among themselves. One question was particularly tricky.
“What did Rick Gates have to do with PIC?’’ staffers wrote in a late January draft. “[Need answer.]”
Despite the hotel only getting $1.5 million of the $3.6 million it wanted, its managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, seemed happy with how inauguration went.
Hotel customer top contender for U.N. ambassador
From yesterday’s “White House talks U.N. post with John James” by Gabby Orr and Daniel Lippman for Politico:
The White House is in discussions with former Michigan Senate candidate John James about the vacant United Nations ambassador post, with President Donald Trump leaning toward nominating the former businessman and Iraq War veteran, according to three people close to the process.
James’s campaign has spent $4,057.89 at Trump properties, all at the D.C. hotel.
And James’s campaign was one of at least six that spent money at a Trump property before landing a coveted endorsement tweet from the president.
Other campaign expenditures
The campaign for Rep. Mark Meadows (R–NC) spent another $4,975 at the Trump Hotel D.C. for a “lodging catering site fee” on Dec. 10, 2018. Meadows’s campaign now has spent a total of $9,196.99 at the hotel. Earlier this month, Meadows signed a letter to the GSA inspector general that criticized its report on the hotel’s lease. That report had called into question GSA’s handling of the lease and whether the president might be violating the emoluments clauses.
The campaign for Rep. Gregg Harper (R–MS) spent $2,770.20 at the Trump Hotel D.C. in December 2018 for event catering. The expenses marked the Harper campaign’s first recorded disbursements at the hotel.
An analyst with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jennifer Garcia-Gallo ate yummy chocolate-covered strawberries at the president’s hotel. She deemed them the perfect bite.
Blaze TV’s Eric Bolling was back at the Trump Hotel D.C. He posed here with a Washington Examiner contributor, Mark Vargas. Earlier this month, Bolling hosted a live SOTU after-show from the hotel’s lobby.
Conservative pundit James T. Harris; Turning Point USA’s director of urban engagement, Brandon Tatum; and entrepreneur David Harris Jr. got together at the Trump Hotel D.C.
A medical command budget analyst at the Oregon Army National Guard, Angel Payne, enjoyed a drink and light fare at the commander-in-chief’s hotel.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D–CA) wanted you to know the lengths he goes to not to patronize a Trump propert
House investigations, current status (latest change, Feb. 21, 2019)
Financial Services—Sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24.
Foreign Affairs—Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D–NY) “plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process” per CNN on Jan. 23.
Intelligence—On Feb. 6, chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) issued a statement that said his committee would investigate links or coordination between the Russian government/related foreign actors and individuals associated with Trump’s businesses, as well as if foreign actors sought to compromise or hold leverage over Trump’s businesses. During an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee will investigate Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, a major lender to the Trump Organization. Earlier, on Jan. 24, the committee sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank.
UPDATED Oversight and Reform—Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D–MD) staff “has already sent out 51 letters to government officials, the White House, and the Trump Organization asking for documents related to investigations that the committee may launch,” according to CBS News on Jan. 13. In a Feb. 15 letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said the committee received documents showing a White House attorney and one of Trump’s personal attorneys provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.” A Feb. 20 memo from the majority laid out the scope for the Feb. 27 hearing with Michael Cohen. Topics include the Trump Hotel D.C.
Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management—Transportation committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and subcommittee chair Dina Titus (D–NV) sent a letter to GSA administrator Emily Murphy on Jan. 22 asking for all communication between the GSA and members of the Trump family dating back to 2015, an explanation of how the hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened in 2016, any guidance from the White House regarding the lease, and whether or not Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are recused from participating in decisions regarding the property. GSA has “sent a partial response and the subcommittee is reviewing it,” according to a senior House staffer familiar with the situation. When hearings begin, it is likely that Murphy will be the first person called to testify, according to a person familiar with the subcommittee’s plans.
Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight—The subcommittee held its first hearing on “legislative proposals and tax law related to presidential and vice-presidential tax returns” on Feb. 7. “We will ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking the highest office in our country obeys tax law?” said chair Rep. John Lewis (D–GA). Experts in tax law testified.
Legal cases, current status (latest change, Feb. 7, 2019)
D.C. and MD attorneys general’s emoluments lawsuit (district court docket, appellate court docket)—
Official capacity—On Dec. 20, 2018, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it would hear the president’s appeal of district court rulings that allowed the case to proceed to discovery, and the appellate court halted discovery in the case. Discovery had started Dec. 3 and was scheduled to run through Aug. 2, 2019, with the AGs having subpoenaed the Trump Organization, including its Scottish golf courses; the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Treasury and the GSA; and the state of Maine. Oral arguments on the appeal are scheduled for March 19. The AGs filed their brief opposing the president’s appeal on Feb. 6, stating, “The President is not entitled to an order requiring the district court to certify for interlocutory review its denial of his motion to dismiss. No court has ever issued such relief.”
Individual capacity—On Dec. 14, Trump’s personal attorneys appealed the denial of their motion to dismiss the case, also to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Dec. 19, the AGs replied to Trump’s motion for a stay pending that appeal by voluntarily dismissing the claims against Trump in his “individual capacity to allow the claims against President Trump in his official capacity to move forward expeditiously.” (The AGs only brought suit against Trump in his individual capacity after the judge suggested they do so.) Trump’s personal attorneys, on Dec. 21, opposed the motion to dismiss at the district level, saying the appeals court now has jurisdiction and accusing the AGs of “gamesmanship.”
196 Democratic senators and representatives’ emoluments lawsuit—On Sept. 28, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the legislators have standing to sue. Trump’s Justice Department attorneys filed an interlocutory appeal on Oct. 22. On Jan. 30, 2019, the plaintiffs’ filed a notice of supplemental authority, notifying the court of the GSA inspector general’s report that criticized GSA for failing to consider if the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease was in compliance with the Constitution after Donald Trump became president. Two days later, the president’s attorneys argued that the IG’s conclusion was not inconsistent with Trump’s argument, but that the judge should ignore that report anyway because the IG has no expertise in interpreting or applying the foreign emoluments clause.
CREW et. al’s emoluments lawsuit—In February 2018, CREW appealed its suit being dismissed for lack of standing to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments on that motion were held on Oct. 30.
Cork’s unfair competition lawsuit—Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed the case on Nov. 26, 2018, writing “Cork has failed to state a claim for unfair competition under D.C. law.” On Dec. 10, Cork’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal and on Jan. 10, 2019 they submitted a statement of issues to be raised. The next steps, which don’t yet have a timeline, include setting a briefing schedule and both sides filing appellate briefs.
Employees’ class-action suit alleging racial discrimination—Two of the three plaintiffs did not appear at a status hearing on Jan. 25, 2019; their cases were moved to arbitration. Via email, their attorney, A.J. Dhali, said his clients did not appear at the hearing because their case already had been moved to arbitration last year. The next status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)
❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site
❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018
❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site
One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)
“Follow the path of least resistance: An oral history of ‘Office Space’” by Jake Kring-Schreifels for The Ringer
Thanks for reading. If you like what you see, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a paying member ($5/month or $50/year). If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe for yourself at zacheverson.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ/manifesto. Tips or feedback? Contact me, Zach Everson, securely via email at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com or on Signal at 202.804.2744.