MONEY TALKS

Report: Saudis Paid for About 500 Rooms in Trump's D.C. Hotel After 2016 Election

Lobbyists acting on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government reportedly paid for “more than 500 nights” in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. over the course of three months after Trump was elected president, The Washington Post reports. Sources cited by the Post said the lobbyists reserved blocks of hotel rooms as part of a campaign offering veterans a free trip to D.C.—complete with banquet dinners and open bars—before having them speak to lawmakers about a law the Saudis opposed. Before Trump was inaugurated, Saudi-funded lobbyists from Qorvis/MSLGroup reportedly put veterans up in Virginia hotels, but they switched accommodations for the “fly-in” trips in December 2016. Some veterans told the newspaper the organizers of the trip were not upfront about the Saudis bankrolling the entire thing, although the organizers have denied this. Trip organizers also told the Post they picked the Trump hotel due to the discounts offered and room availability. According to a Justice Department filing, Qorvis/MSLGroup reportedly spent “$190,000 on lodging at the Trump hotel, and another $82,000 on catering and parking.” The bookings are reportedly at the center of two lawsuits claiming Trump “violated the Constitution by taking improper payments from foreign governments.”