LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A Torrance congressman wants to require President Trump to reimburse taxpayers for any public funds spent on travel to hotels or other properties that he owns.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif) says the Stop Waste and Misuse by the President Act (SWAMP) Act is aimed at ending what Lieu says is the American taxpayer “effectively subsidizing the President’s businesses” in travel to commercial entities owned in whole or in part by the President or First Family.
Under the legislation, Trump and other senior officials with Secret Service protection would be required to pay back any costs stemming from visits to properties they own.
According to the bill, Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago have racked up around $3.7 million for security costs for each trip, on top of travel costs and overtime pay for local law enforcement.
“It is unacceptable for the President to maintain an interest in traveling to properties in which he has a direct financial interest, as the U.S. Government is responsible for renting space for personnel in said private commercial entities,” the bill states.
Trump, Lieu says, is on track to spend more during his first year of office than all eight years of the Obama administration combined – which would mean he would have to spend nearly $100 million by the end of 2017, according to a new report.
“He’s enriching himself and his family at the expense of the taxpayer,” Lieu told CBS2 Friday from Washington, D.C.
Lieu argues that, unlike other presidential retreats, Mar-a-Lago is a commercial property owned by the president that allows the Trump family to make a profit every time the president stays there. Lieu says his House resolution, if passed, would make the president pay the taxpayers back.
Former Republican Party Chairman Frank Visco thinks the bill has no chance of passing.
“This is about a man who’s trying to demonize Donald Trump because he happens to be a billionaire, he has hotels,” Visco said.
Records obtained from the Secret Service and the Air Force in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch showed the Obama family travel expenses topped $99,714,000 during Obama’s two terms in office.
Lieu has been vocal about his opposition to the Trump administration: in March, he called the president “an evil man” and even started a “Cloud Of Illegitimacy” clock on his website days after Trump’s inauguration.