In a typical Trump move, this administration is taking full advantage of the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and the impending damage from Hurricane Irma as a scapegoat to their many issues.
President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort was court-ordered to release visitor records as a result of government watchdog organizations’ advocacy. The precedent has already been broken in relation to releasing visitor records for the White House, so to obtain the visitor records from Mar-a-Lago is exceedingly important in terms of evaluating ethics and conflicts. The watchdog organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) notified the general public via Twitter Thursday evening that government lawyers are postponing.
The new deadline to share the information is the 15th of September, a fair departure from the initial mandated deadline. However, CREW confirmed that they did agree to the one week extension in their tweet:
Sadly, the reason for the extension request was quite probably related to a report issued Wednesday by USAToday, detailing that President Donald Trump directly financially benefits – to the tune of millions of dollars — from CEOs and lobbyists who have memberships at Mar-a-Lago and his other clubs. It specified that it is not uncommon for these individuals to be given the president’s ear and of course, by nature of proximity, they have a tremendous amount of access to him.
They alleged that:
‘Members of the clubs Trump has visited most often as president — in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia — include at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials. Two-thirds played on one of the 58 days the president was there, according to scores they posted online.’
USAToday “review[ed] social media and a public website golfers use to track their handicaps, then researched and contacted hundreds to determine whether they had business with the government.” In total, they were able to compile a list of 4,500 people who have memberships at Trump’s clubs. Unfortunately, because the $100,000 membership fees per person per annum are held in a trust for Trump, it is entirely legal.
Where they enter grey area however — is the subtle exchange of access for these fees. The USAToday report identified that:
‘Among Trump club members are top executives of defense contractors, a lobbyist for the South Korean government, a lawyer helping Saudi Arabia fight claims over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the leader of a pesticide trade group that sought successfully to persuade the Trump administration not to ban an insecticide government scientists linked to health risks.’
Unfortunately, short of reviewing the USAToday article, more specific and verified information is now not available for another seven days. We suppose that with all that America is going through right now, that can probably still be spun as a benefit given that media coverage will not be monopolized by the hurricanes and this information will be prioritized. Concerning however is the fact that no real reasoning was given for the delay, and it is unknown what information will be altered and/or spun as a result of this additional provided time.
Feature Image via Getty Images.