Today, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden of Oregon, citing “the possibility that members of the president’s private clubs could receive special access to the president not available to private citizens,” demanded the President turn over:
- Logs of all visitors and guests to Trump resorts and golf clubs during his presidential visits.
- The names of Trump’s golfing partners during his time in office
- The names of club visitors and members who work for foreign governments or have ties to enterprises owned by foreign governments
- Anyone who needed Secret Service screening to visit a Trump property
Trump must deliver all requested documents by October 13.
Wyden’s interest in the matter was inspired by a September 6 USA Today investigative article entitled, “Trump gets millions from golf members. CEOs and lobbyists get access to president.”
In a follow-up story this evening, USA Today detailed how they discerned from social media and a handicap-tracking golfer’s website that Trump’s Florida, New Jersey and Virginia golf clubs have hosted “at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials . . . [with] two-thirds played on one of the 58 days the president was there, according to scores they posted online.”
Fredericka Schouten, who worked on both investigative pieces, goes on to explain:
Trump has visited his private clubs on more than a quarter of the days of his presidency. While there, he routinely mixes his visits with government business, entertaining foreign leaders such as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach, Fla., resort.
Senator Wyden pointed out that such conflicts of interest may directly affect trade policy, potentially creating a blur between government business and Trump’s personal dealings. Although his sons manage the Trump Organization, he retains the right to draw money from it.
To address the potential dangers Trump’s businesses pose to America’s national interests, Wyden in February introduced a measure to “force President Trump to disclose his income, assets and liabilities in a foreign country before he embarks on new trade negotiations.”
Wyden’s is not the only deadline the Trump administration faces. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and two other watchdog groups have brought suits that have resulted in a court order for the release of January-March Mar-A-Lago visitor logs tomorrow at noon.
For a president always whinging about being the victim of a “witch hunt,” he certainly has a lot to hide.
What do you think?
Lucia Brawley is a Harvard- and Yale-educated writer, producer, actor, and political organizer. She runs the progressive political Facebook group Consenting to Lead. To learn more, please go to luciabrawley.com.