Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. military spent at least $184,000 at President Donald Trump's Scotland golf resort during layovers since 2017, the Pentagon said, causing Democrats to raise concerns that the transactions are in violation of the Constitution.
In a letter dated Sept. 12 to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the Pentagon said that since Aug. 9, 2017, through July 26, 2019, the Department of Defense spent $124,578.96 on overnight stays at Trump Turnberry, which is nearby to Glasgow Prestwick Airport where military planes refuel during stopovers to and from Europe and the Middle East.
"This amounts to an average of $189.04 per overnight stay, which is well within the overseas Per Diem and Meals and Incidental Expenses average of $282.92," Assistance Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs James N. Stewart said in the letter.
An additional $59,729.12 was also spent in travel charges connected with stays at the Trump hotel but were not paid for with the Defense Department's travel vouchers, it said without elaborating what the money was spent on aside from potentially having gone to pay for meals eaten at restaurants while on official travel, which does not require receipts.
According to the Department of Defense, during the two years prior to Trump becoming president, military personnel spent a substantially lower $64,380.78 at Trump Turnberry.
The letter was in response to the House Oversight and Reform Committee's late June request to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper for documents related to stays at Trump Turnberry during layovers at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.
Last week, the Air Force said the layovers "adhered to all guidance and procedures" while the airport was chosen for layovers and refuelings as it is open 24 hours a day with room to accommodate their aircraft.
The committee is investigating the layovers, which it says are an "apparent violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution," which bars the president from profiting from his office other than his salary.
On Wednesday, Rep. Elija Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote that the department's response was "woefully inadequate" as it failed to provide even the number of rooms purchased during the period.
"To date, the Department has produced only 21 pages of material -- half of which appear to be publicly available on government websites," Cummings said in the letter. "The Department failed to produce any underlying invoices or travel records relating to spending at Trump Turnberry or Prestwick Airport. It is unclear why the Department has taken so long to produce such rudimentary and deficient information."
Cummings said that since the average cost of the rooms was given, the department failed to prove that it did not pay higher rates for some rooms that exceeded the military allotment.
"Although the Department's response is belated and deficient, it still reveals that far more taxpayer funds have been spent at the President's resort than previously known," he said. "... The data provided by the Department now indicates that U.S. taxpayer funds have been used to pay for more than three dozen separate stays involving hundreds of nights of rooms -- all after the President was sworn into office."
After the news broke last week, Trump tweeted he knew nothing about military personnel staying at his Scotland hotel.
The investigation is occurring as Democrats examine the President's properties as potential conflicts of interest as Trump and his family may be profiting from domestic and international governments staying at his hotels.
The Committee on Oversight and Reform has said the president has suggested Trump National Doral Miami to host a G7 summit.
"Since President Trump took office, the American people have witnessed an unprecedented arrangement that has funneled taxpayer dollars into the President's pockets," Peters said in a statement announcing the bill. "As elected officials, we must hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and ensure that we are using taxpayer dollars responsibly."