Washington, D.C. — Democracy Forward filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration to force the disclosure of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s influence over high ranking White House officials. The new suit follows reports detailing the close-knit relationship between Jared Kushner and bin Salman. The Crown Prince claims that Kushner is “in his pocket.”
Kushner and bin Salman’s embrace raises questions about the Trump Administration’s actions related to Saudi Arabia. One example: President Trump’s unprecedented inaugural foreign trip to the country. There, he participated in the first ever Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum and announced a $20 billion contribution from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (“PIF”) for investment in U.S. infrastructure projects. The contribution will be managed by the Blackstone Group, whose CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, is an informal advisor to President Trump.
President Trump and his cabinet officials continue to push private investment in federal infrastructure projects. As Saudi officials prepared to attend the Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum in New York City, the Crown Prince met with the White House.
“Americans deserve to know what role the Saudi royal family plays in influencing the Trump administration’s plans for taxpayer dollars,” said Anne Harkavy, Executive Director of Democracy Forward. “From everything we know about the Trump administration’s disregard for laws and norms, it’s essential to expose any backroom negotiations or sweetheart deals.”
In June 2017, Democracy Forward filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Treasury seeking communications and records relating to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s role in influencing the behavior of Trump administration officials.
Yesterday’s suit was filed after the agencies failed to provide the requested documents. Read the full complaint here.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.
December 7, 2018