A government watchdog group announced Monday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will comply with their request for the release of visitor records for President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, made as part of an ongoing ethics lawsuit against Trump.
Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced the DHS has agreed to release Mar-a-Lago visitor records by Sept. 8, at which point the watchdog group will make the records public.
“The public deserves to know who is coming to meet with the president and his staff,” Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s executive director, said in a statement. “We are glad that as a result of this case, this information will become public for meetings at his personal residences—but it needs to be public for meetings at the White House as well.”
The group celebrated the anticipated release of visitor records as a “Major CREW Victory” in a Monday morning tweet, but it remains unclear exactly what they will receive as Mar-a-Lago reportedly does not keep thorough visitor records.
Visitors to Trump’s South Florida club do not have to submit to any of the procedural steps required to see Trump at the White House. Club members are required to give the front desk advance warning before guests arrive, but visitors are not required to give personal information, like their middle initial or social security number, which are required for most visitor logs.
When asked about the lack of thorough Mar-a-Lago visitor records, CREW spokesman Jordan Libowitz told Politico, “We don’t know exactly what records they have.”
“What that means is somewhat of a mystery, but whatever records they kept, we will be getting,” he added.
The lawsuit, filed in January in the Southern District of New York, alleges Trump is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause whenever foreign entities lease Trump real estate or pay to stay at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The Department of Justice has denied the charges, arguing in a 70 page brief that the emoluments clause was not intended “to reach benefits arising from a President’s private business pursuits having nothing to do with his office or personal service to a foreign power.”
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