Government watchdog to examine cost of Trump's Florida travel

2016 Mar-A Lago is seen from the media van window in Palm Beach Fla. A government watchdog will examine the taxpayer-funded travel costs when President Donald Trump travels to the Mar-a Lago resort in Florida and the securi

In response to the massive number of regular, high-income citizens that are able to gain access to the President through his South Florida golf resort Mar-A-Lago, Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation requiring the Trump Administration keep record of the comings and goings of members in the interest of public safety and transparency. The president has spent half of his weekends since taking office at the private club he owns in Palm Beach, Fla.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse and Tom Udall requested the probe. Security needs change with each visit depending on whether or not foreign government officials are visiting (like the weekend Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in attendance). Other dinner guests posted pictures of the group reviewing documents to social media.

"Anybody can get a membership at the club for $200,000", says Cummings. "And what privileges do they have with regard to bringing their guests?"

And this week, the Democratic lawmaker whose district includes the Mar-a-Lago estate asked the White House to alleviate the "financial burden" of his near-weekly visits. That information now isn't available.

Last month, the Members of Congress raised concerns following an incident in which "the President and his staff discussed national security matters on "full view to diners" and reviewed potentially sensitive national security material in apparent violation of security protocols".

Democrats are concerned about another issue related to the president's visits - the cost.

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The Democrats, citing press reports, said each of Trump's weekend trips to his Florida estate costs about $3 million. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Cummings also communicated his disappointment that House Republicans were not engaging with the possible security vulnerabilities. "So, you know it's hard but we have to keep raising the issue", he told NPR.

They have also asked GAO to determine if Trump is making good on a promise to voluntarily donate to the U.S. Treasury all profits his hotels earn from payments made by foreign governments.

The government watchdog will also look into whether Trump is keeping his promise to take any profits made at his hotels from foreign governments and transfer them to the US Treasury.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog will examine the taxpayer-funded travel costs when President Donald Trump travels to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and the security procedures surrounding those trips, several congressional Democrats announced Tuesday.

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