Trump’s critics have filed lawsuits against him, arguing that business the hotel received from foreign governments violated the Constitution’s so-called emoluments clause, which prohibits federal officials from receiving gifts or payments from other governments.
Trump’s company said it did not voluntarily solicit business from foreign embassies, given possible allegations of influence peddling. Mr. Trump also donated the profits he earned from visits by foreign government officials, including those from Saudi Arabia, to the Treasury.
People familiar with his finances said the controversy has hampered the hotel’s profits, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, limiting travel and gatherings. Even as the hospitality industry recovers, Mr. Trump’s departure from Washington has sucked some energy from the hotel.
But the hotel remained a magnet for Trump allies and senior administration officials, who were often seen in the lobby bar, as well as conservative Christian groups and Republican congressional candidates who wanted to support Trump.
Trump and his family’s political operations, as well as the Republican National Committee, have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the hotel, where it has become a frequent venue for fundraising events. Federal Election Commission records show that more than $3 million in political committee payments have arrived at the Washington Hotel since early 2020.
The reviews showed that the hotel, according to audits handed over to House investigators, was still losing about $5 million to $10 million annually before accounting for depreciation losses, implying a total loss of about $74 million from 2016 to 2020.
But if the stated price of the lease purchase completed as planned, it appears that the Trump family will gain a significant profit from the sale, as the repayment is higher than the capital investment the family made in renovating and opening the hotel. Selling the lease allows the Trump family to pay off the loan they took on the property.