Thursday, May 25, 2017

TRUMPED bill tackles president's stays at own properties

Rep. Alcee Hastings' TRUMPED bill makes a good point. This so-called "President" is a serial fraudfeasor.

TRUMPED bill tackles president's stays at own properties

By Skyler Swisher
Sun Sentinel

A South Florida Democrat wants Congress to send the president the message he’s being Trumped.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-West Delray, filed legislation Wednesday that seeks to cut off tax dollars for President Donald Trump’s visits to his oceanfront mansion Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.

“His constant use of his own property is padding his own pockets with taxpayer money, while significantly harming local businesses and straining primary law enforcement agencies to the brink,” Hastings said in a prepared statement.

Officially, the bill is titled the Taxpayers Require Urgent Mandatory Protection from Egregious Debt Act of 2017.

The bill has little chance of succeeding in the Republican-controlled Congress, but it expresses the growing frustration of South Florida Democrats. U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and Ted Deutch, Boca Raton, joined Hastings earlier this year in sending a letter to Trump asking him to curtail his travel to Mar-a-Lago.

Mar-a-Lago is not only a residence for the president and his family, but it is also a for-profit social club that charges $200,000 a year in dues to members.

Hastings’ bill would allow local governments to file a “civil action” to recover funds from the president if he spends more than 24 hours at a property in which he has an ownership interest. Local businesses adversely affected by the travel could also seek to recover money.

Palm Beach County estimates it has spent nearly $4 million protecting Trump during nine visits he made to Mar-a-Lago after being elected president. Businesses owners at the Lantana Airport near Mar-a-Lago say they have lost thousands in revenue because of flight restrictions when the president visits.

Trump’s last visit came during the Easter weekend. He also spent time in New York City after being elected president and is expected to visit his home in Bedminster, N.J., over the summer.

Money could be on the way. Congress appropriated $61 million to reimburse communities, such as Palm Beach County and New York City, that have incurred “extraordinary law enforcement personnel costs” protecting the president as part of $1.1 trillion budget deal. The money is for costs incurred through Sept. 30.

New York City has put its costs at about $30 million

In White House press briefings, spokesman Sean Spicer has defended the president’s travel, saying Trump works when he is at Mar-a-Lago and historically presidents have spent time away from Washington.

Democrats in Congress have also introduced the “Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act,” or the MAR-A-LAGO Act.

That legislation would require visitor logs for the White House and other places where the president does business, such as Mar-a-Lago, be made public.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Staff writer Anthony Man contributed to this report.

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