Democrats go after federal payments to Trump businesses

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The entrance of Trump International Hotel is seen in downtown Washington, U.S., June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTS191DA

While President Donald Trump takes a “working vacation” at his golf club in New Jersey during the month of August, lawmakers from across the aisle are once again looking to address conflict-of-interest related queries.

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Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are seeking information regarding how much money the federal government is spending at Trump’s for-profit properties, asking departments to hand over the materials by the end of the month.

"The American people deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent, including the amount of federal funds that are being provided to private businesses owned by the president and the purposes of these expenditures," reads the lawmakers' letter to Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The lawmakers sent similar requests to all Cabinet secretaries.

Their request seeks documents about any payments the departments made to the Trump Organization or any business in which the Trump organization has an ownership stake.

Trump hasn't shied away from his homes away from the White House. He's visited his own properties 48 times since his inauguration, including a dozen overnight stays such as the one he's on now, according to an Associated Press tally.

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Most presidents have maintained and visited their personal homes while in office. Think George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch and Barack Obama's Chicago house.

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The difference with Trump is that his residences are part of his business empire. That means when the State Department and Department of Homeland Security spend money to move and protect the president around his own properties, some taxpayer money makes its way into Trump Organization coffers.

Trump turned over company leadership to his adult sons and a senior business executive, but he did not divest as previous presidents have done. The trust in which he placed his business assets includes a clause that he can draw down money at any time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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