The Trump Organization Ordered Golf Course Markers With the Presidential Seal. That May Be Illegal

You sure post in this thread a lot for someone who thinks it’s a nothingburger.

Personally I feel that any time a sitting President profits from violations of federal law is a big deal.

2 Likes

Would you like me to shut up about it? :wink:

If that turns out to be the case, so would I.

1 Like

That’s the case. His company is selling souvenirs adorned with the presidential seal. This is in violation of the already-cited-in-the-thread 18 U.S.C. 713.

1 Like

Well, you’ve found him guilty, so clearly it’s an open-and-shut case, right?

I don’t know if he’s personally guilty. He’s profiting from it and hasn’t addressed the scandal yet. It’s certainly an open-and-shut case against whoever was involved in the design and approval of those souvenirs. I think that’s a big deal.

Fair enough. I don’t think it’s as big a deal, myself. (I’d feel the same if it were Obama, say, who was profiting).

Tell that to the president.

Nope. He doesn’t bug me like he bugs you, apparently.

But isn’t this a necessary part of the offense? To use or reproduce the seal for the purpose of creating:

“…a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof…”

Possibly someone might think use of the seal on golf tees implies government sponsorship or approval, but I can’t imagine how anyone would.

“(b) Whoever, except as authorized under regulations promulgated by the President and published in the Federal Register, knowingly manufactures, reproduces, sells, or purchases for resale, either separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any likeness of the seals of the President or Vice President, or any substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the article for the official use of the Government of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

Seems pretty clear to me.

Well of course he doesn’t. He said he could even shoot someone and would get away with it.

The Trump Organization isn’t stellar when it comes to thinking things through.

Versions of the seal have occasionally been put to personal use by past presidents. George W. Bush and Barack Obama had custom sets of golf balls made with the seal. Ronald and Nancy Reagan had a set of presidential china bearing the seal, and there have even been M&M’s and jelly beans that featured the seal.

In this case, the difference is that a private company is using the seal, said 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 during the George W. Bush administration.

“If we had heard of a private company using it for commercial purposes, we would have sent them a nasty letter,” he said.

i am not sure that the issue of persona use" is relevant. The issue is the potential violation of the statute.

(a) Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of the great seal of the United States, or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
(b) Whoever, except as authorized under regulations promulgated by the President and published in the Federal Register, knowingly manufactures, reproduces, sells, or purchases for resale, either separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any likeness of the seals of the President or Vice President, or any substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the article for the official use of the Government of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Obviously subsection (a) is not violated by the golf tees. Whether subsection (b) is or not would depend on whatever in the world is said about it in the federal register OR if the use is somehow government-related.

Subsection (b) is violated by the tchotchkes they’re selling in the Trump Tower gift shop.

We’re talking about golf tees in this thread. Plenty of time to start another thread.

Interestingly, one can buy George W. Bush golf balls with the presidential seal on them for $5.00 apiece.

http://bushpresidentialcenter.shoptruespirit.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/43rd_Presidential_Seal_Golf_Ball/ProductDisplay?parentCatId=70056&imageId=1172640&level=&graphicId=41&categoryId=70165&catalogId=10003&langId=-1&storeId=88391&productId=400000288532&topCatId=70022

Barack Obama did the same thing with golf balls bearing the presidential seal, but they’ll cost you more; about $30 apiece.

Is Trump charging for the tees, or are they given away? And if given away, to everybody, or just to presidential invitees; foreign dignitaries and such?

1 Like

Oh, I see that the Obama golf balls with the presidential seal on them bear a facsimile of Obama’s signature. Bush’s don’t seem to. Perhaps that’s the reason why the Obama ones are more expensive.

We’re discussing Trump’s misuse of the presidential seal. The Trump Organization is selling things with the seal on them, and I don’t see any notice in the Federal Register. See post #16.

Lots of presidents have privately used balls with the seal on them. I’m actually surprised that the GWB center is selling them, and wouldn’t be surprised to see that listing disappear if someone made an inquiry.

Lots of cheap imported stuff is sold online with the seal on it (those Obama balls are being sold by an import ebay account). It doesn’t make sense to use resources to go after them. What’s different is this isn’t a Chinese company slapping a well-known symbol onto t-shirts, it’s the President himself profiting off of a violation of the law.

My guess is the proceeds from the sale of golf balls for by the George W Bush Presidential Center is either going to a Charity or for running the Center. Not going to George W. The Obama golf ball is being sold by a Private Citizen. Not Obama.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.