Saudis Spent $270K at Trump Hotel In Lobbying Campaign Against 9/11 Bill
Tuesday, 06 June 2017

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has paid Trump International Hotel nearly $270,000 through its Washington, D.C. lobbying firm over the past several months, new foreign lobbying disclosure filings show.

The payments, from Qorvis MSLGroup, were made for hotel rooms and catering services for dozens of U.S. veterans who the lobbying firm recruited as part of an influence campaign aimed at watering down legislation that could put Saudi Arabia on the hook financially for the 9/11 attacks.

Disclosures filed with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show that Qorvis MSLGroup paid $190,272 to Trump International for lodging expenses, $78,204 for catering, and $1,568 for parking.

The hotel payments, which are just a small part of a massive $8.4 million campaign aimed at lobbying lawmakers against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), could reinvigorate allegations that Trumpís hotels violate the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting U.S. officials from receiving payments from foreign governments.

Though Trump has severed financial ties to Trump Organization, his sons still operate the international real estate company that controls Trump hotels. Thatís of concern to watchdog groups and Trump critics who worry that foreign governments could book stays at Trump hotels in order to curry favor with the White House.

The mammoth Saudi lobbying effort on JASTA suggests it has pulled out all the stops to neuter the bill, which allows U.S. citizens to sue foreign governments who have sponsored terrorist attacks.

Though JASTA was passed into law in September after Congress overrode a veto by President Obama, Qorvis MSLGroup is pushing an amendment co-sponsored by Arizona Sen. John McCain (whose McCain Institute has received $1 million from the Saudis) and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham that would soften the language in the bill.

Qorvis MSLGroupís latest filing sheds new light on its pro-Saudi influence campaign, which The Daily Caller uncovered in December after several veterans published op-eds in newspapers across the U.S. opposing JASTA


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