Congressman Cohen Introduces Amendments to Prohibit Federal Spending at Trump-Owned Hotels, Resorts, and other Trump-owned Businesses

August 23, 2017
Press Release


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congressman Steve Cohen, who serves as the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today introduced a series of 16 appropriations amendments to prohibit federal spending at Trump-owned hotels, resorts and other Trump-owned businesses.  The amendments were offered to an upcoming appropriations package that is scheduled to be considered on the House floor in September.

“Congress should not allow the President to use his office to profit himself and his family,” said Congressman Cohen.  “The President’s refusal to divest from his privately owned businesses creates a conflict of interest when steering federal spending to his resorts and other businesses.”

According to press reports, President Trump spent 40 of his 181 full days in office – approximately 22 percent of his days in office -- at a Trump-branded golf course.  It has also been reported that the Secret Service has spent $73,000 on golf cart rentals at Trump properties.

“The President’s refusal to divest also continues to raise serious questions about his compliance with the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, which is a vital protection against foreign governments’ corrupting influence.” said Congressman Cohen.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits the President from accepting payments and other benefits from foreign governments without seeking and receiving Congressional authorization.

“The American people should have total confidence that the President is serving their interest, not his own financial enrichment.  President Trump’s refusal to disclose information to Congress or seek Congress’s authorization for accepting profits from foreign governments stemming from his sprawling foreign financial interests is a brazen violation of the Constitution and a danger to our democracy.” 

Specifically, Congressman Cohen offered 2 amendments to each of 8 upcoming appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2018: Interior & Environment; Agriculture and Rural Development; Commerce, Justice, Science; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.  Half of his amendments prohibit federal funds from being spent at Trump hotels and resorts. The other half of his amendments prohibit federal funds from being spent at Trump-owned businesses identified in his financial disclosures. A link to the text of these amendments will be posted when it becomes available.

Congressman Cohen offered similar amendments to an appropriations package that passed the House in July, however the Republican majority blocked them from being considered on the House floor. 

Congressman Cohen is helping lead a lawsuit filed by nearly 200 Members of Congress against President Trump for allegedly violating the U.S. Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause.  More information about the lawsuit can be found here.

Last week, Congressman Cohen announced he is drafting articles of impeachment for, among other things, potential violations of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. Additional information on his impeachment announcement can be found here.