A minor controversy is brewing over the presidential seal and an apparent attempt to use it to adorn golf courses owned by President Trump. The problem with that idea? It might be illegal. As ProPublica explains, the Trump Organization recently ordered the manufacture of tee markers emblazoned with the seal for use at Trump golf courses—these would be the markers used to show golfers where to tee off. This became known when a metalworking and sign company known as Eagle Sign and Design posted a since-deleted photo to Facebook of the design destined for "Trump International Golf Course." (There's four such courses, and the caption didn't specify which one.) The order form seen by ProPublica and WNYC identifies the customer as Trump International.
The issue is that the seal cannot be used for commercial purposes. In fact, it's a criminal offense that carries a possible punishment of six months in prison. The “law is an expression of the idea that the government and government authority should not be used for private purpose,” a law professor at Washington University tells ProPublica. It's not clear whether the revelation will put an end to the tee-marker plans. Nobody from the White House, the Trump Organization, or the Justice Department is commenting. The owner of Eagle Sign and Design confirms his company made the design but not his client's identity. "Apparently when you do something that is related to Trump it means you'll get a lot of questions," he tells the Louisville Courier-Journal. "We just did what our customer wanted." (Read more President Trump stories.)