WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) — As new details emerge about President Trump’s July 4th “Salute to America” event, some say he could be crossing a legal line using taxpayer money for political purposes.
One big issue is the ticketed VIP section located right in front of the Lincoln Memorial — the White House is giving out tickets, along with the Republican National Committee.
The Secret Service says the area will span from the steps of the memorial to midway on the Reflecting Pool.
The thought is big-time donors to the president and other political allies will be part of this VIP section that’s typically a public space.
The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington or CREW is one organization threatening legal action.
“The fact that there appears to be a benefit for the president's political allies and that they are literally being put in front of the American people who are traveling from everywhere to attend our nations birthday is not just highly problematic but possibly illegal,” said Donald K. Sherman, deputy director of CREW.
Sherman says if Trump talks politics in his speech Thursday, it will only bolster that argument — that is is a political rally on the taxpayer's dime.
The Washington Post reports the National Parks Service is diverting $2.5 million for Trump’s celebration — money intended to improve parks across the country.
WaPo is citing two sources, but the NPS is not officially confirming the information.
The White House is denying that this is any kind of political event.
Spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday it’s open to the public and is about celebrating America. She says the president’s speech will also focus on that as well as an appreciation for the military.