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.
According to a report in the Washington Post, the lobbyists for the Saudis spent around $270,000 at the Trump hotel in total, housing dozens of USA military veterans brought to the district to lobby Congress against a recently-passed law allowing victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to sue other governments.
The Saudi-backed organizers were putting up veterans who were offered a free trip to Washington to help lobby against a law that Saudi Arabia opposed, the Post reported.
The report says that over the course of three months, lobbyists supporting the Saudi Arabian government's interests booked over 500 nights at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C.
The veterans were campaigning against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, passed by Congress in September 2016. The luxury rooms were to be used by USA military veterans as part of a free trip to Washington while lobbying Congress against the anti- Saudi bill. One veteran from Texas, Henry Garcia, told the Post he was never told Saudi Arabia was behind his trip until partway through, and he was surprised by the amount of wining and dining that occurred.
The bookings for the trips for veterans were first made at hotels in Northern Virginia but changed to the Trump International Hotel because the 500 nights in Trump's hotel came at a discounted rate, according to organizers. The veterans involved in the lobbying campaigns were instructed to speak with lawmakers specifically about JASTA.