Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform launched an investigation Tuesday to determine how much federal agencies are spending with President Donald Trump's business.
The group of 18 lawmakers, led by ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, sent letters to various federal agencies and departments asking for documents related to federal funds they've spent on products and services provided by or affiliated with the Trump Organization.
"The American people deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent, including the amount of federal funds that are being provided to private businesses owned by the president and the purposes of those expenditures," the letter said.
The president handed over control of his business to his two sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, upon his inauguration. But some lawmakers -- both Democrat and Republican -- have questioned whether Donald Trump has distanced himself enough from the company.
Democrats on the oversight committee said Trump is the first president in four decades not to liquidate his assets and place them in a blind trust.
"The president's financial entanglements make it impossible to know whether he is making his decisions in the public interest or to benefit him or his family members financially," the letter said. "The president's continued ownership of private businesses also places federal employees in compromised positions when they work on official activities that potentially create financial benefits for the president or his family members."
Democrats are questioning whether Trump's visits to his own properties -- Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. -- are benefiting him financially. They say the administration has not disclosed how much money was spent on his trips to those properties, nor has it said where the money goes.
"There may be other expenditures of American taxpayer funds at Trump properties that are not yet publicly known," the letter says. "Federal agencies and their employees may be hosting events or renting hotel rooms at Trump properties, eating meals at Trump property restaurants, or contracting for equipment rentals with Trump businesses."