Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), which is an organization geared towards activism for its stated mission and tied by its leadership to the work of the late journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is calling for investigations by the U.S. government into the circumstances of deals between Trump business entities and LIV Golf.
LIV Golf is a recently created league that is mostly owned by a public investment fund in Saudi Arabia, over which that country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman exerts control. Per available information evidently made available in connection to litigation brought by the PGA Tour, the fund also handles all of the expenses associated with running LIV Golf events — some of which have been held at Trump properties, seemingly indicating that the now former president (who’s running for the office again!) has raked in millions of dollars almost directly from Saudi leaders, with only business formalities between him and an official widely held responsible for the murder of Khashoggi in 2018.
“The revelation that a fund controlled by Crown Prince MBS actually owns almost all of LIV Golf means that MBS has been paying Donald Trump unknown millions for the past two years, via their mutual corporate covers,” an observation reposted on Twitter by Sarah Lee Whitson of DAWN outlined. When in office, Trump was generally supportive of the ambitions of the Saudi regime, including by pushing back on scrutiny of leadership’s role in the brutal and fatal attack on Khashoggi. “Given that Trump is also planning to run again for president, his business ties to Mohamed bin Salman are a national security emergency,” what Whitson shared on Twitter added. Separately, she also spoke to the opportunity for Congress to take legislative action against the kinds of conflicts of interest seen here. “The real task for Congress is to end the terrible incentives that the absence of robust conflict of interest laws have created, allowing rich tyrants to buy even American presidents,” she said.
The possibility of the next or a future president having benefited by the millions from a government fund led by a violent authoritarian is extreme — but feasible, depending on how Trump fares. Also at issue is the possibility that negotiations over the partnership between Trump and LIV Golf took place while he was in office. Whitson argued that federal law “strictly prohibits this sort of business dealing by sitting federal officials with foreign governments.”
The potentially serious corruption adds to an already expansive portrait of such around Trump, including what foreign government interests spent at his now defunct D.C. hotel while Trump was still in office. Some of those who spent there had business before U.S. authorities, like the Malaysian prime minister whose delegation spent big — while he was the subject of a probe into money laundering. And that doesn’t even cover the expansive corruption found at Trump’s family business in its dealings with domestic interests. A lawsuit from New York state authorities against the business continues.
Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons
BREAKING: Multimillion dollar payments from @LIVGolfInv , Reportedly 93% owned by MBS-Controlled Fund, to Trump Golf Resorts Raise Serious Questions about Conflict of Interest, Threats to National Security
— Sarah Leah Whitson (@sarahleah1) January 16, 2023