Sunday July 03, 2022

US discloses officials who received gifts from foreigners

September 26, 2021
US discloses officials who received gifts from foreigners

ISLAMABAD: The US latest disclosure of gifts received by officials from foreign states and dignitaries included names of not only the president but also the vice president, senior advisors, secretaries, senators, CIA agents, army officials, judges and other workers of government departments.

Out of hundreds of gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, only five were retained by US officials in 2019, according to the data publicized by the Department of State. Former president Donald Trump received most gifts but did not retain a single one, states the public document.

A gift given to Donald Trump by Pakistan along with two gifts from Modi in 2019 are also shown in the information released by the US. Contrary to Pakistan, the record of gifts received by the US from foreign countries is published on an annual basis. Nothing is kept secret.

Most of the expensive gifts given to the US came from Muslim countries mainly the Arab states including UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. The list also reveals gifts given to Melania Trump, Micheal R Pence, Karen Pence, Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Sarah Sanders, Stephen Miller, Micheal R Pompeo and other key figures of the Trump administration.

The compilation included reports of both tangible gifts and gifts of travel or travel expenses of more than minimal value which was settled up to $390 for 2017-2019 by GSA regulations, US. Whereas the US Senate maintains an internal minimal value of $100; therefore, all gifts over the $100 limit are furnished in the US Senate report.

A notice was published by the State Department on August 5, 2021 for 2019 unfolds names of the individuals who received the gifts, estimated value of each gift, current location or disposition of each gift, identity of the donor or government who gave the gift and justification for accepting those gifts. The report stated, “The Office of the Chief of Protocol, Department of State, submits the following comprehensive listing of the statements which, as required by the law, federal employees filed with their employing agencies during 2019, concerning overvalued gifts received from foreign government sources.”

The gifts include lavish jewellery, paintings, sculptures, perfumes, clothing, books, ammunition, travel trips, etc. Apart from this, the document also disclosed the travel expenses accepted by the US in different countries including expenses of lodging, meals or any other incidental expenses.

Donald Trump received the most gifts during 2019 out of all other officials of the US government. The former US president declared a total of 23 gifts that he received in 2019 worth $52,626. Trump, according to the list of recorded gifts, did not retain a single gift for himself and rather disposed of all of them to National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

The total estimated value of the gifts given to the US in 2019 stood at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Among all the gifts, only five were retained by the receiver and apart from them, all others were disposed of and transferred to NARA or other government departments for official use only.

Pakistan gifted Donald Trump a silk carpet which had a value of $3000 on his visit to the US in 2019. This was the only gift that America received from Pakistan in 2019. Whereas, two gifts from India were sent, which were delivered by Indian Prime Minister Modi himself on his visit to the US. One was a sculpture with a value of $970 given to Donald Trump and the other was a candle holder which cost $650 and was given to Jared Kushnar, senior advisor.

Interestingly, donors of the most expensive gifts to the officials of the US government in 2019 came from Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Libya, Egypt, etc. Although most of the gifts valued less than $1000, the gifts from Muslim countries, especially the Arab states, were worth $20,000.

Ashraf Ghani gifted a handmade carpet to Trump and Lapis Bowl and Lapis Tray to Micheal R Pompeo, which valued almost $10,000. Two carpets were gifted by the president of Uzbekistan which cost over $20,000. The president of Egypt gave Donald Trump a frame of his image which cost over $5000. Likewise, the Ameer of Qatar gave Trump a statue made of emerald, onyx, gold and diamond worth thousands of dollars. The deputy prime minister of Bahrain gave a gift to Trump, which had an estimated value of $7200.

CIA agents have also declared gifts that they received but the document has not disclosed the identity of those donors. The gifts to the agents included mostly watches costing up to $10,000. Two agents have also received cash up to $30,000 which they have declared to the State Department.

Army members including Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Mark A Milley and General Joseph M Votel, commanding general US CENTCOM, have declared gifts received by them. The office of Director of National Intelligence of the US has too disclosed gifts received during 2019. The Department of Justice including the attorney general of the US are also listed in the document.

The list also consists of officials from the Department of Treasury, House of Representatives, Senate, Environment Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and Nuclear Regulatory Commission.