House panel is probing US military use of Trump-owned property in Scotland
By COLBY ITKOWITZ | The Washington Post | Published: September 7, 2019
WASHINGTON — The House Oversight Committee is investigating why a financially struggling airport near a Trump-owned golf course in Scotland has seen an uptick in expenditures by the U.S. military since President Donald Trump took office.
Chairman Elijah Cummings and Rep. Jamie Raskin, both Maryland Democrats, sent a letter to the Defense Department's acting secretary, Patrick Shanahan, in June asking for all travel information pertaining to Pentagon personnel through the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, as well as visits to the Trump Turnberry golf resort.
In the letter, Cummings and Raskin say that the airport "reportedly has provided 'cut-price rooms for select passengers and crew' and 'offered free rounds at Turnberry to visiting U.S. military and civilian air crews.' "
Trump purchased the cash-strapped golf course on the west coast of Scotland in 2014 and has never turned a profit on his investment. In the years after his purchase, Trump advocated bringing more flights through Prestwick Airport, which would benefit his property just 30 miles away.
The Oversight Committee members cite a February 2018 story in the Guardian stating that the Defense Logistics Agency has helped shore up the airport's income by stopping there for refueling during missions. Since October 2017, the Pentagon has spent $11 million on fuel at Prestwick.
Politico, which first reported the Oversight investigation, described one Air National Guard trip to Kuwait in which the crew stopped at Trump's Turnberry property on the way there and back. Typically, crews refuel in locations where there are U.S. military bases.
This investigation dovetails with the committee's larger review of potential conflicts of interest between Trump's role as president and his businesses, particularly when it relates to foreign governments and possible violations of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says a U.S. president cannot take money or gifts from a foreign leader or government.
News of the letter comes after Vice President Mike Pence's recent stay at a Trump property in Ireland, far from his meetings in Dublin, raised eyebrows. The Oversight panel is also investigating whether Trump benefited financially from Pence's choice of lodging on the taxpayer's dime.
The Washington Post's Rachael Bade contributed to this report.