- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Secret Service paid less than $10,000 to President Trump’s Scottish golf resort for services during a 2018 presidential stay, and all of the costs were properly authorized, according to an inspector general’s audit released Tuesday.

Agents were able to rent rooms at the “cost price” to the hotel, meaning they paid far less than the list rate and didn’t turn a profit, according to the audit.

Mr. Trump’s decision to stay at the Trump Turnberry Resort during his trip to Scotland drew criticism from Democrats who said he was pumping taxpayer money into his own business.

They demanded the Department of Homeland Security inspector general investigate, and the new audit is the result.

Investigators estimated the overall trip cost the Secret Service at least $950,000, not including meals and incidentals, which were redacted from the public report. But almost all of that was paid to companies other than the president’s resort.

Just $9,662 went to Turnberry: $5,935 for hotel rooms, $2,804 for logistics and $923 for golf cart rentals at the property.

The agents got a lower rate than the listed seasonal rate for rooms, though the actual dollar amount per room was redacted.

The number of agents involved was also redacted from the public report.

For the golf carts, the Secret Service rented nine from Turnberry and 10 from another company. The rate paid to Turnberry was 80 cents lower per day than the other company, the audit said.

“We did not identify any fraud indicators or costs that were not authorized in relation to the president’s visit to the Trump Turnberry Resort,” the inspector general concluded.

Mr. Trump’s frequent trips and stays at his own properties have become a major issue for the president, who declined to give up his ownership stake when he took office.

Several lawsuits have challenged his behavior as a violation of the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution.

His July 2018 trip to Scotland drew particular fire because he took several days out of his European itinerary to stay at his own club, where he played a couple rounds of golf but, according to Democratic critics, made no public appearances.

Then-Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, at the time the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tom Carper demanded the inspector general investigate.

The State Department’s inspector general did its own review last year of costs the department incurred during the 2018 Trump trip.

Unreimbursed costs totaled $233,732.86 for the Scotland part of the European trip, covering overtime, hotel rooms, rental vehicles and meals and expenses.

According to that review, the State Department rented three rooms at Trump Turnberry for a rate of about 95 pounds a night — or $121.40 at the exchange rates at the time. That was less than half the price the department paid for rooms at five other Glasgow hotels.

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