A government transparency group vowed on Friday to continue a court battle to open up visitor logs at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, after the administration provided only the names of Japanese staff who attended a February visit from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, one of three government transparency groups that sued the Department of Homeland Security for the information, obtained and released the records on Friday. The Justice Department said in a letter to CREW that the records were responsive to the group’s request under the Freedom of Information Act.
“The government seriously misrepresented their intentions to both us and the court,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “This was spitting in the eye of transparency. We will be fighting this in court.”
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From the beginning of Trump’s presidency, the White House had sought to keep the records from Mar-a-Lago secret. The Trump administration also ended an Obama-era practice of disclosing Secret Service logs of visitors to the White House, and does not share information about the membership of the president’s private clubs or his interactions with golf partners and others at Trump-owned properties.
A recent USA TODAY investigation found that dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others seeking to influence the government are members of Trump’s golf clubs. The president’s continued ownership of these clubs gives wealthy interests the chance to have close contact with the president in return for initiation fees and annual dues that enrich him personally.