“What is the takeaway from this story? In 1998, my client went on a Church-sponsored bike trip to Cuba, and in response the U.S. Treasury Department went after my client for $10,000.Meanwhile, yesterday we learned (courtesy of Newsweek) that also in 1998 a company controlled by Donald Trump hired business consultants and sent them to Cuba. They were hired in order to scope out possible business opportunities if the Cuba Trade Embargo were to end. While there, these consultants incurred $68,000 in expenses for which they billed the Trump company and for which they were reimbursed. The size of this spending far exceeds the minor amounts that my client was alleged to have spent while on his bicycle trip that same year. They also were engaged in business activities, and not on a trip sponsored by a charitable or humanitarian organization (although documents obtained by Newsweek suggest that a cover story involving a charitable sponsor was concocted after the trip took place).
Moreover, unlike my client, Donald Trump was an experienced businessman in the hospitality industry who knew in detail about what was and wasn’t permitted under the Cuba Trade Embargo (indeed, the entire purpose of hiring the consultants and sending them to Cuba was to prepare for the end of the Embargo, which presupposes knowledge of what was prohibited under the law). Therefore, this appears to be a knowing violation of U.S. law, which could have been referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution had this conduct come to the attention of the U.S. government at the time.”