American Oversight Sues for U.S. Embassy Communications About Trump Properties

On Tuesday, American Oversight sued the State Department for records of communications about Trump Organization properties sent by officials at U.S. embassies in a dozen countries.

President Donald Trump’s real-estate business — from which he has refused to financially divest — has properties around the world, from Israel to Indonesia, and from Uruguay to the United Kingdom. Just three months into his presidency, multiple U.S. embassies began sharing an article on their websites and social media promoting Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida, ultimately deleting the post after public outcry. (We obtained records showing the State Department’s response.) And the president’s family members, including Donald Trump Jr., have reportedly highlighted their connection to him in promoting the Trump Organization’s foreign business interests.

In June, American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the State Department, asking for communications of ambassadors and other high-ranking embassy personnel concerning Trump Organization properties, such as Turnberry in Scotland, where Air Force crews had stayed for days at a time, and Trump’s hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland, where Vice President Mike Pence stayed during an official trip to the country in early September. Other embassies included in the request are those in Israel, Canada, Turkey, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Panama, the Philippines, India, Uruguay and Indonesia — all countries with Trump properties. Today’s lawsuit seeks to compel the release of those records.

Trump’s refusal to divest from his business empire has created clear conflicts of interest, and concerns about his ability to profit from public service have only magnified in the three years he’s been in office. No federal agencies have provided American Oversight with copies of any guidance for spending taxpayer money at Trump properties, and multiple foreign governments received State Department approval to rent property in New York’s Trump World Tower in 2017 without the constitutionally required approval of Congress.

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