August 02, 2018

Senators Request Investigation into Reports of Air Force One Tours for Trump Mar-A-Lago Club Members

Questions about Readiness, Security, Cost, and Use of Government Property for Private Gain

Text of letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) asked the Air Force and Department of Defense Inspectors General to investigate when and how individuals are provided tours or other access to Air Force One after reports that members of President Donald Trump's exclusive Florida clubs were invited on a tour of the presidential aircraft last year. If these reports are accurate, it could mean that the president or his family used government property for private gain by giving tours of Air Force One as a perk for club membership, or that club members may have been able to buy access to Air Force One via their personal payments to the president's private club.

"This use of Air Force One would not only raise questions about readiness, security, and taxpayer cost, but it also violates the basic principle against using public office for private gain, and could constitute a violation of federal ethics rules," wrote the senators.

United States Office of Government Ethics regulations require that federal officials "shall not use public office for private gain" - and federal ethics law prohibits the use of government property, including Air Force One, "for other than authorized purposes." Although previous presidents have provided friends and campaign donors tours of Air Force One, reports that members of the president's private club may have received such tours are particularly troubling because their relationship to the president arises out of an ongoing business relationship.

The senators asked for a review of when and how individuals have been provided tours of and access to Air Force One since January 20, 2017.