The latest Trump Hotel to open was one just down the street from the White House in Washington, D.C.
“If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money,” Trump said in one of the 2015 Republican debates. “I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, and they are there for me.” He added, “And that’s a broken system.”
It appears now that, once again, the Trump Organization took advantage of that “broken system” when working to secure the deal for the new Washington Trump property. According to a report from the “Daily Beast,” Trump and his children all donated the maximum amount of money they could to the Washington mayor and members of Congress, including Democrats, who all supported Trump’s property.
The federal government announced that Trump won the contract in February of 2012 for the Old Post Office Pavilion building, and not long after money began flowing into the campaign war chests of the politicians who helped make it happen. Both Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Mayor Muriel Bowser scored campaign contributions from the Trump family.
The Trump family is known for giving to Democrats and Republicans, particularly in New York and Florida, but until recently they weren’t investors in Washington, D.C. political campaigns. It doesn’t take a campaign finance expert to explain that the donations look bad.
“There’s no evidence of anything illegal about it,” Lawrence Noble of the Campaign Legal Center told The Daily Beast. “The closer you are to doing something specifically for somebody the more it raises ethical questions.”
Ivanka Trump, who was tasked with managing the project, first contributed $2500 to Norton’s campaign in June 2012, just four months after the deal for the hotel was announced. She contributed the maximum again in the next election cycle.
Norton released a statement in June 2013 saying she has worked for 15 years to find a developer for the Old Post Office. In 2008, the statement explains that Norton passed a bill, the Old Post Office Development Act, which would require the General Services Administration to proceed with redevelopment of the property. She also celebrated Ivanka Trump for her work on the project and said, “It has been my pleasure to have the rare opportunity to work with a major developer who happens to be a remarkable young woman.”
“Norton has spoken with Ivanka Trump, who leads the project, several times and today also spoke with Donald Trump,” the statement also says.
Just three weeks after releasing that statement, a $2,600 check came in from Donald Trump for Norton’s campaign.
“It is not unusual for businesses who build in the national capital region to contribute to Members of Congress,” communications director Benjamin Fritsch said. “Congresswoman Norton was at the groundbreaking because of her role as the sponsor of the Old Post Office bill.”
The groundbreaking was July 23, 2014, and Bowser and Norton stood alongside the whole Trump family for the event. Two weeks later, Norton got another $2,600 check from Ivanka Trump. Once Bowser won her primary election, Ivanka Trump sent her $2,000 and Eric Trump did the same a few months later. Donald Trump then gave Bowser $5,000, the maximum amount for her inaugural committee after she was elected. The total was $9,000 that could have been the maximum donation, and that’s exactly what the Trump’s contributed.
Bowser and Trump’s offices both refused to comment.