A Texas nonprofit headed up by Donald Trump’s eldest sons is selling access to the president-elect and a multi-day hunting trip with Eric and Don Jr. themselves. The private post-Inauguration Day reception with the newly-minted president and the tickets to Westworld will set you back $1 million. (You know, the cost of a small loan.)
The Opening Day Foundation was established less than a week ago, and, in addition to being led by the Trump sons, is run by friends of the family. According to a brochure first leaked by TMZ on Monday, all proceeds from the January 21 event will be donated to unnamed conservation charities.
The Center for Public Integrity did some additional digging into the organization and found that, as a nonprofit registered in Texas, the Opening Day Foundation isn’t required to reveal its donors, which allows “sponsors to write seven-figure checks for access to the president while staying anonymous, if they choose.”
This news, which comes less than a week after the Eric Trump Foundation tried to auction off coffee with de facto First Lady Ivanka Trump, has again raised alarms about the Trump family using the presidency to move money and peddle influence.
“This is problematic on so many levels,” Larry Noble, the general counsel of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, told the Center for Public Integrity. “This is Donald Trump and the Trump family using a brand new organization to raise $1 million contributions for a vague goal of giving money to conservation charities, which seems a way of basically just selling influence and selling the ability to meet with the president.”
Speaking to The New York Times about the Eric Trump Foundation’s now-canceled auction, Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer who served under George W. Bush, said the foundation shouldn’t have used special access to a prominent transition team member and adviser to raise money, even though Ivanka does not yet have an official role in the incoming administration.
“If she is going to be in the government and a power behind the throne she should observe the same ethics restrictions that other White House employees face,” Painter said.
In a comment to the Center for Public Integrity, Walter Kinzie, CEO of the event management company organizing the Opening Day events, said the participation of one or both Trump sons in the hunting trip has not been confirmed.
If that’s the case, they might want to update the leaked brochure, which entices deep-pocketed donors with a “multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for 4 guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump, and team.”
UPDATED at 10:41 a.m. EST on 12/21/16:
Trump’s transition team has issued a statement—contradicting the foundation’s spokesperson and its Texas registration documents—insisting that Don Jr.and Eric Trump are not, in fact, affiliated with the organization.
“The Opening Day event and details that have been reported are merely initial concepts that have not been approved or pursued by the Trump family,” transition spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. “Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are avid outdoorsmen and supporters of conservation efforts, which align with the goals of this event, however they are not involved in any capacity.”
Paperwork indicating the the eldest Trump sons are directors of the organization would suggest otherwise, but, according to another transition spokesperson in a comment to The New York Times, it will be updated to remove them and correct the alleged mistake.