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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Who'll pay for Japanese prime minister's visit to Mar-a-Lago?

Shinzo Abe

Associated Press

Shinzo Abe

8

February

From our friends at the Miami Herald:

The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Trump-family-owned Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, this weekend is fraught with ethical problems.

Will U.S. taxpayers pay for Abe? Will Abe stay for free? Will Abe pay Trump, who will give the money to the U.S. Treasury?

“I’m hoping the White House will clarify the arrangement, but every financial scenario I can think of compromises the office and presents a significant conflict of interest that every other modern president has taken pains to prevent,” said John Wonderlich, executive editor of the Sunlight Foundation, which pushes for government openness.

The White House referred questions about who is paying to the State Department, which referred questions to the Japanese government. Several Japanese officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The lack of transparency about the arrangements is also troubling,” said Norman Eisen, who served as a White House ethics lawyer under President Barack Obama. “Most fundamentally, this demonstrates that Mr. Trump’s unresolved business conflicts are going to hang over almost everything he does. . . . This news provides one more reason that Mr. Trump should’ve made a clean break with his businesses instead of hanging on to his ownership interests.”

More here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 2:17pm]

    

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