Lobbyist's House campaign paid president's D.C. hotel

A Congressperson resigned. He registered as a lobbyist. His committee continued to spend at the president’s hotel.

A timeline—

  1. Sept. 23, 2019Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) resigned from Congress to “be the support my wife, baby and family need right now.”

  2. Nov. 25, 2019Duffy registered as a lobbyist.

  3. Jan. 21, 2020Duffy’s campaign spent $644 on travel at the Trump Hotel D.C.

President Donald J. Trump still owns that business and can profit from lawmakers-turned-lobbyists’ campaigns spending money there.

The $644 expense comprised 2.6 percent of the Duffy campaign’s first quarter operating expenditures, which totaled $24,396.06. (Last quarter his campaign also paid the Ritz-Carlton $3,300 and Delta Airlines $4,756.75.) Most of Duffy’s campaign’s other first quarter disbursements were to other committees or to cover administrative fees.

Duffy’s campaign has been a customer of the president’s D.C. hotel since March 2017, disbursing a total of $22,204.91 there—including more than $17,000 on a single day in July 2019. Two months after that expenditure, Trump took to Twitter to praise Duffy and plug his wife’s book, as 1100 Pennsylvania reported at the time.

The former lawmaker becoming a lobbyist was first reported by Theodoric Meyer for Politico. Duffy is also a CNN contributor.

About a week before the Duffy campaign’s latest Trump Hotel D.C. disbursal, but well after it’d already dropped more than $20,000 there, Duffy enjoyed “one of the coolest things I have ever done”—a ride with President Trump aboard Air Force One.

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Other campaign expenditures

The campaign for Sen. John Thune (R-SD) spent $3,170.18 for event catering on Jan. 17 at the head of the executive branch’s D.C. hotel. Thune’s campaign now has reported spending a total of $14,186.35 at the Trump Hotel D.C. (one of those disbursements, for $2,615.33, came a year to the day before the latest disbursal). A Thune-affiliated PAC, Heartland Values, has also patronized the president’s D.C. business, spending $3,351.75 there in April 2019 (as 1100 Pennsylvania reported at the time).

The campaign for Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) spent $138.30 for food and beverage on Feb. 5 at the head of the executive branch’s D.C. hotel. Bilirakis’s campaign now has reported disbursing a total of $371.90 at the Trump Hotel D.C.

The campaign for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R–CO) spent $72.50 for food and beverages on Jan. 21 at the head of the executive branch’s D.C. hotel. Lamborn’s campaign now has reported disbursing a total of $456.60 at the Trump Hotel D.C.

The campaign for Gene Truono, a losing candidate in the 2018 Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Delaware, spent $645 for lodging on Jan. 15 at the head of the executive branch’s D.C. hotel. It was the first time Truno’s campaign reported disbursing money at the Trump Hotel D.C.

Notable sightings

A glimpse of the foreign officials, government employees, politicians, lobbyists, and the like who patronize or appear at Trump businesses. (Or a lot of empty seats!) Most people shown here have reasons to want to influence the Trump administration, rely on its good graces for their livelihoods, or should be providing oversight. Additionally, high-profile guests serve as draws for paying customers.

While the nation’s capital is under a stay-at-home order through June 8, the Trump Hotel D.C. hosted a wedding this weekend according to managing director Mickael Damelincourt.

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.


Notable hotel customers


Upcoming key dates

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

  • May 21, 2020—House Oversight committee’s deadline for the Trump Organization to turn over documents and communications relating to COVID-19 related bailouts from foreign and domestic governments

  • May 29, 2020—Status hearing before D.C. Superior Court in former hotel employees’ lawsuit alleging racial discrimination

  • June or July 2020—Before postponement of oral arguments due to a coronavirus-related closure, Supreme Court decision due on Trump’s appeal of earlier rulings requiring his financial institutions to comply with subpoenas from House Financial Services, Intelligence, and Oversight

  • Aug. 10, 2020—Scheduling conference before D.C. Superior Court in D.C. attorney general’s lawsuit alleging improperly spent nonprofit funds by the Trump Hotel D.C. and Trump’s inaugural committee

  • Oct. 29, 2020—Mediation session in at least a one-time Trump appointee in the Commerce Department’s lawsuit against the Trump Hotel D.C., alleging a shard of glass from a sabered bottle of champagne left a gash in her chin

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