Wisconsin’s football team spent a week in Florida staying at a Trump hotel prior to the Orange Bowl, and that stay could become a key element of a lawsuit against President Trump charging that his business endeavors violate the U.S. Constitution.
Wisconsin’s football team, coaches and staff, as well as certain university officials—about 250 people in all—stayed at the Trump National Doral for a week. Wisconsin is a state university, and for that reason, the visit could turn up in a lawsuit filed by the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. That lawsuit charges that Trump violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting millions of dollars’ worth of payments from both foreign and domestic government entities.
Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh told the Washington Post that Wisconsin’s visit violates the Constitution’s domestic emoluments clause barring the president from taking gains from state governments. Trump resigned from the management of his companies when he became president, but continues to profit financially from their operation.
“Something like that is a problem, without question,” Frosh said. “It’s another example of how the potential for corruption is enormous.”
Worth noting: Wisconsin itself did not select Trump National Doral. The Orange Bowl organizing committee has had a contract in place with Doral since 2014 to host incoming teams. Wisconsin’s delegation included members of the school administration, the Board of Regents and the Athletic Board; the Wisconsin marching band stayed at another location.
Wisconsin has not indicated how much it paid for the trip, but said payment will be made in February through revenue gained from ticket sales, concessions and other non-state-taxpayer sources. The Post estimates the entire cost at over $100,000. Even though taxpayer funds apparently would not be used to cover the bill, a student group has demanded the university explain itself for allowing the team and officials to stay at a Trump-owned hotel, and suggested that the team should have jumped around to a different hotel in the Miami area.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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