In April 2017, multiple U.S. embassies around the world began sharing an article on their websites and social media pages promoting the Mar-a-Lago golf resort owned by President Trump. The posts were ultimately deleted following a public outcry about the use of taxpayer resources to advertise the president’s business interests, but American Oversight launched an investigation to determine how and why the posts were originally written and distributed.
In late November 2017, the State Department responded to our Freedom of Information Act request and provided over 400 pages of records showing the editing process for the article itself and the panicked flurry of emails that were sent around the State Department after the press and groups like us started asking questions.
View all the documents here.
Statement from American Oversight senior advisor, Melanie Sloan:
“Months after the State Department used taxpayer resources to promote a Trump property, we still have no clear answers about why this happened, and the State Department has established no guidelines to prevent employees from advertising the president’s businesses in the future. President Trump’s refusal to divest from his business empire creates endless possible conflicts of interest, and unless agencies take steps to stop the president from profiting from his position, this type of thing is going to happen again.”
The records do not include any communications with the office of the Secretary of State — and they don’t fully explain why the article was selected to be written — but so we are continuing our inquiry.
Part of Investigation: