Hundreds of veterans were unwittingly used as pawns to lobby for USA legislation the Saudi government supported, and put up in luxury hotel rooms in Washington DC - all paid for by the Saudi Arabian government.
The Washington Post is reporting that Saudi-backed lobbyists rented a whole bunch of rooms at a Washington D.C. hotel owned by President Trump shortly after his election.
The lobbyists were associated with a campaign that offered free trips to D.C. for veterans who helped lobby against a law - that the Saudis reportedly opposed - on Capitol Hill, veterans and people who organized the trips told the Post.
The Washington firm Qorvis/MSLGroup, which has long worked for the Saudi government, paid to host six groups of USA military veterans at the Trump International, spending more than $270,000, the Post reports.
At first, Saudi lobbyists put the veterans up in Northern Virginia. Once in D.C., the veterans were pushed to lobby against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which lets the families of September 11 victims file suit against the Saudi government.
Documents obtained by the Post showed that Saudi officials paid for six groups of United States military veterans to stay at the Trump hotel for periods of time between December 2016 and February 2017, following Congress' decision to override former President Barack Obama's veto of the law.
Executives at the hotel told the Post they were not aware Saudis were footing the bill. He said the organizers never said anything about Saudi Arabia when they invited him- and he went on three of the trips. There were private hotel rooms, open bars, free dinners.
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