Donald Trump is using the presidential seal at a fourth golf course to assist enhance his business in what could possibly be a violation of the law, Forbes is reporting.
An Instagram post recently featured a photograph of the seal, with the official circular, blue-and-silver design, getting used as a tee marker on the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. The Instagram caption reads: “forty fifth President 45 yards from hole on 18.”
It’s against the law to make use of the presidential seal in a way that might convey the impression of presidency approval or sponsorship of a personal business. Violations may end up in prison sentences of as much as six months. The seals can only be used for official government business.
The course is the fourth Trump property to make use of the seal in possible violation of the law, in keeping with Forbes. Presidential seals have also been used at his courses within the Bronx, Recent Jersey and in Jupiter, Florida.
A 2018 podcast produced by ProPublica and WNYC reported “dozens” of the markers much like those seen recently getting used at Trump courses. On the time, the Trump Organization blamed the markers on super fans, and quickly removed them when the story emerged.
“The plaques were presented to the club by a small group of members, who’re incredible fans of the president, in honor of President’s Day weekend. They were temporary and have since been removed,” said an announcement from the Trump Organization.
However the podcast had obtained an order form for the markers, listing them as being purchased by “Trump International.”
The law concerning use of the presidential seal is an “expression of the concept the federal government and government authority mustn’t be used for personal purpose,” Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University specializing in government and legal ethics, told ProPublica on the time. “It could be a misuse of presidency authority.”
Trump has used his office in several ways to reinforce his private businesses.
Lobbyists, lawmakers and foreign nations often booked rooms and hosted lavish parties while he was president at his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., reportedly to curry favor with him.
He has also charged the Secret Service at the very least $2 million to remain in rooms and eat food at his properties. And he has gone out of his solution to travel to his foreign golf courses with a big entourage — at taxpayer expense — to spotlight the properties in international news stories.
The Trump Organization couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.