Saudi Arabia reportedly spent more than a quarter of a million dollars at President Trump’s Washington hotel as part of a lobbying campaign by the Gulf kingdom against a controversial piece of terrorism legislation last year, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The Saudi kingdom hired lobbyists and consultants to fight back against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which would allow U.S. citizens to sue other governments for terrorist attacks, spending about $190,000 on lodging, $78,000 on catering as well as $1,600 on parking at the Trump-owned luxury hotel, The Daily Caller first reported.
Public relations firm MSLGroup disclosed the roughly $270,000 in payments in paperwork firled with the Justice Department documenting foreign lobbying work on behalf of the Gulf kingdom.
The Hill adds:
Michael Petruzzello, an MSLGroup executive, told the Journal that a subcontractor in the company first made the payments to the Trump International Hotel, which the Saudi government then reimbursed. Petruzello acknowledged that the efforts were part of a lobbying campaign in which military veterans would be brought to Capitol Hill to speak out against the legislation.
Congress passed JASTA last year, over then-President Barack Obama’s veto.
Victims’ families and survivors from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks had been pushing for legislation like JASTA which would allow them to sue any foreign government allegedly involved.
The Saudi government has repeatedly denied any involvement in the terror plot, and U.S. officials have supported their stance.
Trump pledged to donate any profits his Trump Organization received from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury earlier this year. The Journal reported that the company has so far declined to give details about how it is handling such profits.
The newly disclosed lobbying payments from Saudi Arabia continue to raise ethics questions on whether the Mr. Trump is completely separated from his businesses.