Speed Reads

Your tax dollars at work

Taxpayers spent nearly $100,000 on Eric Trump's business trip to Uruguay

A business trip to Uruguay taken in January by Eric Trump, the third child of President Donald Trump, cost taxpayers $97,830 in hotel bills for the Secret Service agents and State Department staff who accompanied him.

Eric was visiting the South American country in his capacity as an executive of the Trump Organization, which the president's adult sons are managing in their father's stead. He was accompanied by Secret Service agents whose hotel bill totaled $88,320, as well as staff from the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay's capital city of Montevideo, who spent $9,510 on hotels so they could "support" the Secret Service. Those hotel bills may have been for as few as two nights.

The trip's expense and potential appearance of ethical compromise came under fire after The Washington Post published a story about the cost to taxpayers Friday night. "There is a public benefit to providing Secret Service protection," Kathleen Clark, a law professor and ethics expert at Washington University in St. Louis, told the Post. "But what was the public benefit from State Department personnel participating in this private business trip to the coastal town? It raises the specter of the use of public resources for private gain."