Speed Reads

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Ethics complaints filed over State Department's blog post on Mar-a-Lago

An advocacy group is demanding an investigation into a post originally published on the State Department's ShareAmerica website that read like it came straight from the marketing department inside Trump Tower.

On Tuesday, Common Cause filed a complaint with the Office of Government Ethics over the post from early April, which went into rhapsodic detail over Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, club that he calls the "Winter White House," even though it is now spring. Since becoming president, Trump has spent half of his weekends at the private club, and after the election, its membership fee doubled to $200,000.

The Mar-a-Lago post also appeared on the websites for the U.S. embassies in the U.K. and Albania, but after the news broke on Monday, it was removed. Mark Toner, acting spokesman for the State Department, said the post was written by the International Information Program, and no one in the administration asked for it. "It was meant to provide historical information and context relevant to the conduct of U.S. diplomacy, and was not intended to endorse or promote any private enterprise," he told NBC News. Common Cause disagrees, and said the post was an "abuse of taxpayer funds" that proves Trump does not separate his business from the government. Another group, American Oversight, also filed a complaint on Tuesday, calling for an investigation into why the glowing post was written and how it came together.