How We Got To This Friday.... And A Potential Problem Unmasked

A Washington, DC-based advocacy group promoted to journalists that the Trump Administration was expected to announce its Republic of Cuba policy in June 2017.

The goal was twofold:

First, for the advocacy group to obtain, perhaps cynically, support from its benefactors and create responses from like-minded organizations, companies, and individuals to lobby against any changes to policy. 

Second, to create the narrative that no matter what the Trump Administration’s decision relating to the Republic Cuba, the advocacy group would market that had it not been the precipitator of the initial news cycle, the decision of the Trump Administration would have been far worse; an unproveable.

Within this context, there is a political document that was presented as an economic impact analysis.  Again, with the purpose of creating an unproveable- without it, the decision of the Trump Administration would have been far worse. 

Now, there is a document obtained by journalists purporting to show a commercial relationship between the leadership of the advocacy group and a for-profit travel agency which may benefit from the non-profit and benefit the officer and director of the non-profit; and, thus be considered an (undisclosed) private benefit.  There is a report the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States Department of the Treasury is reviewing the matter:  LINK:

Was the effort by the advocacy group about protecting a personal economic interest rather than the interests of the United States business community?  Maintaining no disruptions in travel to the Republic of Cuba so as not to negatively impact personal income?

With each day since 20 January 2017 without implementation of changes to United States policy and regulations that impact commercial activities of United States companies within the Republic of Cuba, executives in some industries, specifically hospitality (airlines, cruise lines, tour operators and travel agents) have announced expanded schedules and itineraries.

Their belief is the more activity in place, the less likely will be the Trump Administration to be impactful.  So, most executives would rather have a continued delay in any announcement by the Trump Administration.   

In 2015, the advocacy group supported a position by the United States Secretary of Commerce that was later invalidated by the United States Secretary of State.  The issue was whether representatives of United States-based companies could officially participate in a visit by The Honorable Penny Pritzker (and separately in 2015 by The Honorable Tom Vilsack, then-United States Secretary of Agriculture), who accepted that the answer was negative.  In early 2016, that position was reversed when representatives of United States-based companies were included in an official delegation to the Republic of Cuba led by the United States Department of State.  At the time, attorneys provided opinions that there were no statutes prohibiting the participation by representatives of United States-based companies.  The advocacy group was extraordinarily robust in its defense of Secretary Pritzker, to the detrement of United States-based companies.  LINK: