Ethics watchdog group will release Mar-a-Lago visitors log

Frederick Owens
July 17, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security will release the visitor logs from President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, thanks to an ongoing lawsuit filed by the government watchdog organization, Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington-a group that has been fiercely critical of the Trump administration's lack of transparency and its potential conflicts of interest.

The administration cited "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually", earlier this year in its decision to reverse the Obama administration's policy of releasing the White House logs.

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CREW Communications Director Jordan Libowitz says the scope of the Mar-a-Lago records is unknown, "but finding out is part of why we brought the suit". Former President George W Bush, too, initially resisted handing over the visitor logs. Obama's White House, however, reserved the right to redactrecords of visitors that were personal guests not involved in official or political business, as well as records related to "particularly sensitive meetings". The records were released in long lists that failed to note why the visitors were there.

Since becoming president, Trump has visited the Palm Beach resort more than 20 times, using the grounds to conduct high-level meetings with world leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In just his first 100 days, he spent almost a quarter of his time at his beach side resort in Florida. DHS claims to have no records of visitors at Trump Tower. Since then, and as the weather has gotten warmer in New York and New Jersey, the President has switched up his private retreats and often spends weekends in his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, or in his New York City residence in Trump Tower.

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