Democrats Introduce 'MAR-A-LAGO' Act

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (front, left) joins Melania Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Donald Trump and Akie Abe at Mar-a-Lago last month. Since his inauguration, President Trump has spent five weekends at what he calls his "winter White House".

Introduced by Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Tom Carper of DE and Rep. Mike Quigley of IL, it comes after the president spent five weekends in Mar-a-Lago since his inauguration. The Democrats, whose bill is unlikely to survive the GOP-controlled Senate, accuse the White House of avoiding transparency and say they haven't been able to get an answer on whether Trump plans to follow Obama's policy of releasing visitor logs a few months after they were created.

Democrats have introduced the creatively acronymized MAR-A-LAGO Act requiring the White House to publish the visitor log for Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's resort where he has spent almost a quarter of his time in office.

Udall suggested the necessity of the bill was obvious and its objective was a "simple" one. Senator Udall said in a statement: "It's simple: the American people have a right to know who has access to the president and who has leverage over this administration".

"Many Americans are rightly anxious about whether the wealthy and well-connected are being given special treatment and undue influence in the Trump White House", Udall continued. Now the Visitor Access Records page on the official White House website reads, "This page is being updated". "As long as President Trump continues to conduct public business in his private business, the same standards of disclosure should apply to Mar-a-Lago as the White House", he said.

John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, says the Obama policy of publishing the visitor logs "provided the American public with a meaningful window into the influence and operations of the White House, despite its flaws", according to a press release from Udall. When Trump arrives at his Mar-a-Lago resort for Thanksgiving, it won't be the first time a president-elect has used Palm Beach as his vacation refuge.

And Sen. Whitehouse added, "The American people need to know who has access to the White House if we're going to "drain the swamp".

"If he won't adopt that policy himself, Congress should require it", Whitehouse says.

  • Leroy Wright