The White House has refused to fully comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the visitor logs at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, releasing only a few names on the visitor logs Friday.
The Justice Department turned over names of just 22 staff who accompanied Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe during his trip to the Florida resort in February.
The Third Congressional District’s Representative, Erik Paulsen (R), hasn’t spoken out about the FOIA decision. But he seems to have at least some understanding of the importance of government transparency.
Back in 2013 introduced legislation to increase transparency and accountability in spending on federal agency conferences. The Transparency Requirements for Agency Conferences and Events (TRACE) Act was a rare bipartisan effort developed with Wisconin Democract Ron Kind.
“All taxpayers have a right to know where their hard-earned dollars are going,” Paulsen said. “Through the TRACE act, we will ensure federal agencies spend taxpayer dollars as wisely as Minnesota families do. As part of the larger effort to rein in wasteful government spending and address our national deficit, this bill plays an important role in bringing much needed accountability and transparency to government.”
Despite Paulsen’s support for financial transparency, his leadership on issues of information access remain poor. GovTrack found that on issues of government transparency, Paulsen tied with the Second Congressional Distrit’s John Kline for the title of least supportive House member from Minnesota during the most recent (114th) Congressional session. During that period, Paulsen did not sponsor or cosponsor any of the government transparency bills.
In other words, we shouldn’t expect Paulsen to support any efforts aimed at revealing who Trump has been meeting with and why.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the left-leaning government watchdog and ethics group that filed the FOIA request, has said it will challenge the Justice Department’s decision. Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s executive director, said, “The government does not believe that they need to release any further Mar-a-Lago visitor records. We vehemently disagree.
“The government seriously misrepresented their intentions to both us and the court. This was spitting in the eye of transparency. We will be fighting this in court.”
It is lamentable that Rep. Paulsen will not be fighting alongside them.
Featured image via YouTube.