WASHINGTON, March 25, 2017—Democrats in Congress introduced the “MAR-A-LAGO Act” Friday to compel publication of White House and certain Trump property visitor logs.
Democratic Senators Tom Udall (NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Tom Carper (DE) along with Representative Mike Quigley (IL) introduced the “Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act” (MAR-A-LAGO) Friday.
In an effort to encourage transparency, the MAR-A-LAGO Act would require the Administration to publish White House visitor logs as well as visitor logs for several Trump properties where Trump “regularly conducts official business.”
“It’s simple: the American people have a right to know who has access to the president and who has leverage over this administration,” said Senator Udall in a statement. “Many Americans are rightly worried about whether the wealthy and well-connected are being given special treatment and undue influence in the Trump White House.”
The bill comes as a response to the Trump Administration’s cancellation of an Obama-era policy that released White House visitor logs 90 to 120 days after they were created. It also comes as a response to Trump spending five out of nine weekends in his Mar-a-Lago estate since inauguration, his insistence on conducting sensitive government business in a public space, and essentially selling access to himself at his for-profit clubs and hotels.
“The American people need to know who has access to the White House if we’re going to ‘drain the swamp’. So far, all we’ve seen from the President is murk,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Maintaining sensible transparency policies would help dispel concerns that the wealthy and the well-connected have unfair access to the Trump White House. If he won’t adopt that policy himself, Congress should require it.”
In addition to refusing to make White House visitor logs public, The Trump Administration has also rejected requests to reveal Mar-a-Lago and other Trump club member and guest lists.
“Access to the President, in any setting, presents a serious array of national security issues. There should be transparent process for Americans to find out, when appropriate, who has access to the President,” said Senator Reed.
Lawmakers have repeatedly called for the Trump Administration to be more transparent, but have not been successful.
“Effective government is dependent on public trust, but unfortunately, the Trump Administration is missing that key ingredient,” said Rep. Quigley, co-founder of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. “With each passing day, the American people’s confidence in our president decreases, and it is no surprise given the Administration’s efforts to roll back productive policies that increase openness and improve transparency. Reestablishing the practice of publishing visitor logs is a critical first step in ensuing our President, and those he does business with, are working in the interest of hardworking Americans everywhere instead of the wealthy few. From the White House to Mar-a-Largo to Trump Tower, we deserve to know who has the president’s ear and who is wielding their influence in our democracy.”
Representatives Carol Shea-Porter, Steve Cohen, Katherine Clark, Raúl M. Grijalva, José E. Serrano, Nydia Velázquez, Jackie Speier, Jamie Raskin, Earl Blumenauer, Dwight Evans, André Carson, Bennie G. Thompson, Betty McCollum, Danny K. Davis, and Alcee L. Hastings are cosponsoring the bill in the House.
Featured image: Mberjano, Flickr Creative Commons