Trump Is Cashing in on His Presidency With New Year's Eve Rager at Mar-a-Lago, Former Ethics Chief Says

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President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on April 7. Trump has faced accusations of conflicts of interest before and after he assumed office this year. Getty Images/AFP/Jim Watson

The ticket prices for President Donald Trump's rocking New Year's Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, climbed more than 30 percent, further fueling accusations the billionaire is trying to profit off his presidency.

Taking place December 31, the posh event will be held in the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom at the cost of $600 for club members and $750 for their guests, Politico reported Wednesday. Last year, club members shelled out $525 and their guests $575, representing a 14.2 percent increase for members and a 30.4 percent increase for nonmembers to ring in 2018 with the president.

Former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, Richard Painter told Newsweek in an email the price increase was "of course" an example of "pay to play!" when asked if President Trump was profiting from his office.

The Republican Trump has faced myriad criticism not only for his frequent visits to the estate, but also potential conflicts of interest with members and even matters of national security. Trump famously invited members to look on while he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed a missile test by the North Koreans in February.

Despite the controversies, last year's event—a little over a month after Trump claimed and was transitioning to the White House—was dubbed a hit.

"I've been to a lot of black tie events. This was a different feeling," public relations executive Lynn Aronberg, who went to last year's event, told Politico. "It was the best event I've ever been to."

An outside ethics adviser to the Trump Organization, Bobby Burchfield, downplayed the price increase.

"I personally don't see any issues that are raised," he said to Politico. "It's not a campaign event. It's a normal business New Year's Eve party."

The ticket price increase comes nearly a year after the club doubled its initiation fee for new members to $200,000 starting January 1, according to CNBC, though the report stated the club was previously considering an increase before.

The Trump family, including first lady Melania and son Barron, traditionally head to Mar-a-Lago for the holidays, and the president is expected to join his wife and youngest child later this week.

With a global real estate empire, Trump's potential conflicts of interest were a hot topic on the campaign trail last year and continued into his first year in office. The president placed his assets into a trust and charged his eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, with running the family business.

However, Trump has reportedly been able to retrieve funds from the trust at any time. ProPublica reported in April that the trust's original language did not specify Trump could.

Still, there have been indications that Trump's hotel business might be losing money while he runs the executive branch in Washington. Twelve of the president's 13 hotels have experienced a drop in room rates between January of this year and next month, with some dealing with a decline of as much as 63 percent.

Trump Is Cashing in on His Presidency With New Year's Eve Rager at Mar-a-Lago, Former Ethics Chief Says | U.S.