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Controversy surrounding Trump's Bedminster club grows more serious

Trump, his business, his political operation, his foundation, and his inaugural committee are all facing investigations. Now his golf club, too?
Presidential contender Donald Trump gestures to the media on the 17th fairway on the first day of the Women's British Open golf championship on the Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, July 30, 2015. (Photo by Scott Heppell/AP)
Presidential contender Donald Trump gestures to the media on the 17th fairway on the first day of the Women's British Open golf championship on the Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, July 30, 2015.

About a month ago, the New York Times published a striking portrait of a Guatemalan immigrant named Victorina Morales, who entered the United States illegally many years ago, and in 2013, began working at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump assured voters he hadn't hired "illegal immigrants." Morales wanted the world to know that wasn't true.

At first, this looked like a story about a brave woman, coming forward despite the risks to her personally, and a craven politician, exploiting anti-immigrant animus to advance his ambitions, despite his own personal record on the issue. But it wasn't long before it became clear that Morales' experiences are part of a larger controversy.

Indeed, that original NYT report suggested that the management at Trump's club in New Jersey was well aware of the fact that it employed undocumented immigrants, and it deliberately took steps to obscure the fact that it broke the law -- repeatedly, over the course of several years. Today, the Times advanced the story further.

A former employee of the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey said that her name was removed from a list of workers to be vetted by the Secret Service after she reminded management that she was unlawfully in the United States, the latest worker to assert that supervisors at the elite resort were aware that some members of their work force were undocumented. [...]In the latest revelation, Emma Torres, an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador who prepared food at the club, said that members of the kitchen staff were asked in 2016, as Donald J. Trump was in the midst of his campaign for the White House, to write their names, addresses and other details, including their Social Security numbers, on a list of employees that would be submitted to the Secret Service for clearance.

"When I learned this is for the Secret Service to see the records of everyone because they are giving protection to Mr. Trump, I rushed to human resources," Torres told the newspaper. "I thought, God, what will I do?"

The Trump National Golf Club's human-resources department reportedly told her not to worry. Her name was simply removed from the list of employees provided to the Secret Service.

The article added, "A lawyer representing the women has met with investigators from the New Jersey attorney general's office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, presenting what he said was evidence that managers at the golf club knew that some workers were in the country illegally, and that at least one supervisor helped an employee obtain forged working documents."

This is in line with a recent Washington Post report that said Trump's Bedminster club has drawn "scrutiny" from federal and state investigators, who are examining the venue's employment practices.

The article added that the materials collected thus far "indicate that investigators may be launching a probe into the hiring practices of the president's golf club."

Trump, his private business organization, his political operation, his foundation, and his inaugural committee are all facing investigations. With this in mind, perhaps it's not too surprising that one of his golf resorts is facing investigators' scrutiny, too.