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Using misinformation and lots of cash, Saudi Arabia is luring well-meaning U.S. military veterans into its campaign to eviscerate a recently-passed law allowing 9/11 families to sue the monarchy for its alleged role in facilitating the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Specifically, lobbyists are telling veterans that, if other countries reciprocate by passing laws like the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), military service members and veterans will be sued in foreign courts.
Veterans who do their own research will discover an essential fact Saudi Arabia doesn’t want them to know: JASTA only allows U.S. citizens to sue foreign governments for supporting terrorism—not individuals.
Misleading arguments aren’t the only weapon in the Saudi arsenal—its lobbyists are also putting the kingdom’s deep pockets to work, reportedly enticing veterans to lobby legislators on the issue by picking up the tab for airfare and stays in $500 a night Washington hotels, including the Trump International.
Given their high standing in American society, veterans are extremely valuable in shaping public opinion and influencing legislators about a wide variety of issues. What’s remarkable in this instance is the fact that a foreign monarchy, accused of aiding the worst terrorist attack ever perpetrated on U.S. soil, is enlisting veterans to prevent the victims of that attack from presenting their evidence in a court of law.
...the term lobbyist was coined by President Ulysses S. Grant during his tenure in office (1869-1877). Grant, it is said, would frequent the famous Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue to seek reprieve from the demands of office. Despite his best efforts to keep his outings private, individuals standing in the hotel lobby would approach Grant and ask him for special favors or jobs. President Grant apparently referred to these people as lobbyists.