VoteVets v. Department of Veterans Affairs

On behalf of VoteVets, Democracy Forward filed a lawsuit to shut down President Trump’s ‘Mar-a-Lago Council’ and compel the Administration to fully disclose the role members of the President’s private golf club are playing in shaping decisions that affect millions of America’s veterans.

The new suit asserts the Mar-a-Lago Council is violating federal laws that regulate the ability of private interests to shape federal policy. In flouting these rules, the Council has exercised sweeping, unlawful influence at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) over critical issues, such as the makeup of VA leadership and the privatization of VA health care services.

Newly reported emails show that since President Trump took office, the Mar-a-Lago Council — consisting of Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, Palm Beach concierge doctor Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman, a private lawyer — have wielded unprecedented influence over the Administration’s decisions. Through at least 25 meetings and conference calls with senior VA officials, including private meetings held inside the Mar-a-Lago Club, the Council has shaped the Trump Administration’s veterans policy despite having no government or U.S. military experience.

In a stunning display of the Council’s influence, both of President Trump’s appointed VA Secretaries — first, David Shulkin, and then Robert Wilkie — felt compelled to fly down to Florida to meet the Council at the Mar-a-Lago Club.

The Council’s existence is linked to other scandals that have rocked the VA during the Trump Administration, including the firing of Secretary David Shulkin by tweet and the Administration’s broader push for privatization of critical VA health care services.

The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.


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