The investigative team at USA Today has done something truly remarkable and Pulitzer-worthy: they've tracked down the executives and lobbyists who've been greeting Trump at his golf courses.
Membership records for Trump's properties are not public so USA Today tracked them down using a very novel method.
Because membership lists at Trump’s clubs are secret, the public has until now been unable to assess the conflicts they could create. USA TODAY found the names of 4,500 members by reviewing social media and a public website golfers use to track their handicaps, then researched and contacted hundreds to determine whether they had business with the government.
The review shows that, for the first time in U.S. history, wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally. It is a view of the president available to few other Americans.
This is so beautiful it made me giddy.
What is not so beautiful is the grossly unethical access Trump has provided to these lobbyists and CEOs who are directly paying Trump for access through his private properties. If these aren't emoluments then I don't know what is.
According to USA Today, two-thirds of the lobbyists and executives they tracked down have been present on days Trump visited his properties including a significant stent during his three-week long "working vacation" last month.
This relationship also apparently goes both ways. Trump has reportedly visited the properties of some of his golf club members.
Trump marked his 100th day in office by visiting a factory owned by a company run by a member of his New Jersey golf club.
Standing behind Trump as he signed two executive orders was Robert Mehmel, president of the company that owns the Harrisburg, Pa., factory and another company that sells radars and electronics to the military, including about $54 million worth of contracts last year.
Like millions of golfers, Mehmel registered his handicap on a public U.S. Golf Association website that golfers use to track their handicaps and check the scores of other players. The site requires golfers to sign up through a club and lists when and where they played. Only members are allowed to associate their handicaps with Trump’s clubs, said Kyle Littlefield, a pro at Trump National Golf Club-Bedminster.
I expect this golfing handicap website will take steps to immediately shield their elite members from the eyes of prying reporters.