While it is not illegal for President Donald Trump's golf clubs to charge steep initiation fees and then hold them in a trust until he returns to private life, the fact that the president is doing this raises serious questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Or, in the case of more than 70 executives, lobbyists and trade group officials, some not-so-potential conflicts of interest.
According to an investigation by USA Today, there are at least 50 executives with companies that work with the federal government who are members of one of Trump's golf clubs in Florida, New Jersey and/or Virginia. The same is true also for 21 lobbyists and trade group officials, bringing the total number to at least 71 individuals with business before the government who spend money that will ultimately line the president's pockets.
Even worse, the study found that two-thirds of these individuals had played at the golf clubs on one of the 58 days when the president was also there.
As the report explained:
Among Trump club members are top executives of defense contractors, a lobbyist for the South Korean government, a lawyer helping Saudi Arabia fight claims over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the leader of a pesticide trade group that sought successfully to persuade the Trump administration not to ban an insecticide government scientists linked to health risks.
This news continues a larger trend in which it has been revealed that power-players in Washington have patronized Trump's businesses. Trump International Hotel in Washington, for example, has emerged as a hotspot for Republican and various other right-wing groups, raising questions about the propriety of a sitting president financially benefiting from members of his own party and political movement.