REP LIEU LEADS 12 MEMBER LETTER ON SAUDI USE OF U.S. VETS FOR LOBBYING

December 14, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) led a letter signed by 12 Members of Congress who are also veterans to Saudi Arabia Ambassador to the United States Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud. The letter asks him to explain the Washington Post investigation about the Saudi government’s role in sending U.S. veterans to lobby Congress against a bill the Saudis opposed. The Saudi government allegedly reserved nearly 500 rooms at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. for the veterans and misled them about who had organized the trip. The Members expressed concern that the veterans’ stay at the Trump Hotel was meant to curry favor with the President and that the Saudi government duped U.S. veterans.

In the letter, the Members write:

“As Members of Congress who are also veterans, we are deeply concerned the Saudi government allegedly not only deceived our nation’s veterans, but did so to curry favor with Donald Trump by staying at his hotel – from which he profits because he has refused to divest his business interests. This episode raises legal and moral questions about the abuse of the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause and the abuse of our veterans.

For greater clarity on this disturbing investigation, we respectfully request a response to the questions below:

  1. Did the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) sponsor trips to Washington, D.C. during which veterans were housed at Trump International Hotel and given lavish dinners and drinks?
  2. If so, why did KSA select veterans specifically for these trips?
  3. If not, why does the Post report that Congressional staff with whom veterans met said, “Are you the veterans that are getting bribed?”   
  4. Does KSA dispute the validity of the U.S. Department of Justice FARA filings referenced in the Washington Post article?
  5. Why did the lobbyists who helped organize these veteran fly-ins suddenly switch venues to the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. after the 2016 election, after previously housing veterans in Northern Virginia?
  6. Does the Royal Embassy have any evidence that shows all veterans involved were told that KSA funded these lobbying trips?
  7. The article claims that veterans were given “a few fact sheets” about The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) and their missions. What specific materials were disseminated to veterans, and will you provide those materials to Congress?”

READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER HERE