Trump WH officials failed to disclose accounting on foreign gifts: report

Trump WH officials failed to disclose accounting on foreign gifts: report
Donald Trump and Mike Pence at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona on August 31, 2016, Gage Skidmore

The Trump administration reportedly failed to disclose accounting records for gifts former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and other Trump White House officials received from foreign governments in 2020, the U.S. State Department reports. On Friday, April 8, the State Department disclosed details about the missing accounting records.

Per The New York Times:

"In a highly unusual disclosure, the department said that its Office of the Chief of Protocol, which was run by a Trump appointee until Jan. 20, 2021, had failed before Mr. Trump left office to ask the White House for a list of the gifts it received, and that Mr. Trump’s White House left office without providing one. "

The department said it had tried to collect the information about the gifts Trump White House officials had received but had failed to come up with an accounting."

According to The Times' report, the department also indicated "that as a result, it could not fully account for the gifts officials received, the latest example to emerge in recent months of how the Trump administration’s flouting of laws and norms about the day-to-day operations of government now makes it harder to determine whether anything improper took place."

As a requirement under federal law, government departments and federal agencies are required to provide accounting documentation for all gifts received from foreign government officials that are over the amount of $415. This rule was put in place to ensure foreign governments did not have the ability to gain influence over United States officials by way of gift-giving.

In wake of the latest development, the Trump administration has been criticized for its failure to provide transparent accounting for these gifts. Richard W. Painter, who previously served as a top-ranking ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush’s administration, offered a stinging rebuke of the flawed accounting.

“It’s flagrant and it looks terrible,” said Painter. “Either it was really stupid or really corrupt.”

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