In February 2019, the House Oversight Committee released a report on the Trump administration’s efforts to rush nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, which revealed that several advocates for the plan stood to make money if it was implemented. Tom Barrack, the former chair of Trump’s inauguration committee and a close ally of the President, was a particularly strong advocate who also stood to profit. Barrack focused efforts to promote the nuclear deal on gaining the support of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

CREW requested all communications between Secretary Ross and Barrack. CREW also requested any communications between Secretary Ross and former White House advisor to the Commerce Department Eric Branstad that mention Barrack and any communications that refer to Secretary Ross’ May 2017 official visit to Saudi Arabia. 

Barrack has significant business ties to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and nearly 25% of investments into his company came from those two countries. He also has personal investments in Saudi Arabian nuclear technology.

The requested documents would reveal how and to what extent Barrack promoted the Saudi Arabia nuclear deal to the Department of Commerce. This would help Americans understand how much of the decision making surrounding the proposed deal was influenced by private business interests. 

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