The Trump Organization had the idea to put the presidential seal on its golf courses but according to a report, that could be illegal.
President Trump’s luxury real estate company, The Trump Organization, placed an order for tee markers featuring the official symbol of the President of the United States, but that order could turn out to be a federal crime, ProPublica reported Monday.
Eagle Sign & Design, a sign and metalworking company received an order to create dozens of 12-inch markers with the presidential seal emblazoned on them. The markers are used to show golfers where to tee-off for the next hole on Trump golf courses.
According to ProPublica, the sign company declined to say who placed the order for golf but they were able to review the order form which said the customer was Trump International.
“We made the design, and the client confirmed the design,” Joseph E. Bates, who owns Eagle Signs, told the news site.
There is a photo album “Presidential Seal” on the Eagle Sign & Design Facebook page, but photos were either recently removed or never uploaded.
Eagle Sign & Design Presidential Seal on Facebook
President Trump is known for having his name on everything ranging from private jets and properties to the sweaters and knickknacks found on his gift site, Trump Store. All of his golf courses all feature the name “Trump International.”
However, trying to use the official presidential seal for anything other than government business could be a federal offense and could result in up to six months in prison.
The “law is an expression of the idea that the government and government authority should not be used for private purpose,” Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University specializing in government and legal ethics, told ProPublica. “It would be a misuse of government authority,” she added.
Past presidents have used versions of the seal on items for personal use. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have had the presidential seal featured on custom-made golf balls. President Regan used the seal on a personalized set of china before.
The difference between what these past presidents did and the Trump Organization action is that in this case private company would be using the seal rather than an individual for personal use, according to Richard Painter, vice chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government accountability group.
Painter also served as an associate White House counsel in the George W. Bush administration.
Donald Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric are currently in charge of the Trump Organization while he is in office.
Presidential seal ordered by Trump International
The kleptocracy never ends. Trump’s Organization has ordered tee markers for his golf courses featuring the presidential seal. Deeply unethical abuse of public office for private gain—and it is likely illegal. https://t.co/KBGqmzsw7f pic.twitter.com/k97gkPxzKW
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) March 5, 2018