The Jury Talks Back

8/27/2019

Attorney General Barr Hosting Holiday Party At Trump Hotel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

So, is everyone okay with this:

Attorney General William Barr is planning a holiday bash at his boss’ hotel in downtown Washington.

The party at the Trump International Hotel, Washington, DC, could wind up costing more than $30,000, according to The Washington Post, which first reported on the party and its details. A Justice Department official told CNN that the party is not an official Justice Department event and will be paid out of Barr’s pocket.

Still, it is raising concerns from ethics experts and comes as the Justice Department defends President Donald Trump’s businesses in court over claims that they’re benefiting unlawfully from his position.

The party will cost a significant amount of money:

According to a contract Barr signed with the Trump hotel that was obtained by the Post, the party will draw a guest list of about 200 people and include a buffet and four-hour open bar. Depending on his menu selections, Barr’s party could run north of $45,000, according to calculations by the Post, and the contract stipulates that he pay at least $31,500, even if he cancels the event, the paper said.

Concerns:

“It contributes to this idea that you have to be putting money into an entity that will benefit the President — if not today, then down the road — personally to stay in his good graces,” Hempowicz said.

“On the letter of the law, this isn’t a violation, however it doesn’t look good. That’s not nothing when we’re talking about the chief law enforcement officer of the country and his private activity,” said Liz Hempowicz, the director of public policy at the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group.

And let’s keep in mind Barr headed the DOJ after the President was sued by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia president that he was illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors staying at his hotels.

As to whether it appears as if Barr is trying to “curry favor” with the President, an administration official denied that was the case, noting that Barr went to ethics officials at the DOJ for counsel, and was told that the ethics rules did not disallow him from hosting the party at Trump’s hotel. Further, Barr had scouted other establishments to host the party prior to settling on Trump’s place:

[Barr] had originally booked space for the party — an annual event that he throws for family and friends — at Washington’s Willard Hotel. However, that hotel had to cancel on him after they realized they’d double-booked the evening.

Barr also tried the Mayflower Hotel, another stately building in downtown Washington, but it too was unavailable to hold his event on his date of choice, December 8.

Note: Although Trump no longer runs his businesses, and instead his sons now have that responsibility, Trump still still benefits from them financially.

This news comes on the heels of Trump saying that he wants to host next year’s G-7 summit at the Trump Doral Resort in Florida, which also also raises a question of ethics.

–Dana

2 Comments »

  1. $150 per person out of pocket, costing nothing to taxpayers, at a hotel next to the DOJ is quite a bargain. I doubt Trump’s family will benefit from this.

    Comment by Sean — 8/28/2019 @ 5:02 am

  2. My opinion depends on one thing; who is paying for this? If it’s the taxpayer, I very much object (regardless of where held). If, as alluded to in the article, it’s Barr, then I have no problem with it (regardless of where held).

    For a big event like the G-7, though, yes, I have serious concerns over holding that at a Trump property.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 8/30/2019 @ 2:25 pm

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