A ProPublica reader just delivered a major scoop about the Trump Organization’s latest scheme to the news agency’s “Trump Inc.” podcast (embedded below) and there are even photos to prove it.
The Trump Organization just got caught intending to commit a criminal offense by using the official Seal of the President of the United States on their golf courses for commercial profit. Federal law prohibits the knowing display of the presidential seal for the purposes of a commercial endorsement.
While the President is allowed to use the seal to brand anything he wants from jelly beans to fine china, but it’s illegal for the Trump Organization to knowingly display the seal in a commercial venture or as a form of endorsement. ProPublica reports:
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An order form for the tee markers reviewed by ProPublica and WNYC says the customer was “Trump International.” The Facebook page for Eagle Sign and Design shows a photo of the markers in an album with the caption “Trump International Golf Course.”
It is unclear how many Trump International golf courses will feature the markers. The Trump Organization owns four courses with the “International” name in the U.S. and abroad, with a fifth course in Bali, Indonesia, in the works.
Eagle Sign makes a wide array of tee markers out of bronze and aluminum, and has made other signs for Trump’s courses, according to its website. At some of Trump’s golf courses, tee markers have sported the Trump family crest, which he took from the family that originally owned Mar-a-Lagowithout permission and then altered by adding his own name.
The federal law also prohibits the knowing unlicensed manufacturing of presidential seal materials without permission of the government.
Because the Trump Organization isn’t the government – though they sure do try – this news means that their vendor could face up to six months in prison for creating the offending tee markers and delivering them to the president’s private company.
Here is the potentially incriminating photo that ProPublica obtained from Trump’s vendor’s Facebook page:
Since publication, Trump’s tee marker vendor has removed the image from their Facebook page but left the photo album in place.
This is yet another instance of the Trump Administration’s business entanglements bringing disgrace to the office of the Presidency.
It’s only a matter of time before someone finds photos of the illegal tee markers at a Trump golf course somewhere in the world, setting up an interesting legal decision for the Attorney General to make about pursuing a criminal prosecution.
Donald Trump and his family’s crass attempts to profit from public office highlight the entire reason for divestment laws, conflict of interest laws, and the numerous laws that govern the use of public assets for private gain.
Listen to ProPublica explain how they got this exclusive story: