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Who has gained access to President Trump and Mar-a-Lago through Cindy Yang?

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Trump Tourism: Access for Sale

The Miami Herald is investigating how U.S. President Donald J. Trump has become a favorite target of a little-known Chinese industry peddling access to the rich and powerful. At the center of this “Trump Tourism” is Cindy Yang, a former Asian day spa owner, who sold access to Mar-a-Lago and the White House, raising concerns about national security. Read more:


Who has gained access to President Trump and Mar-a-Lago through Cindy Yang?

For 18 months, former Asian day spa owner Cindy Yang sold access to President Donald Trump and his family. In online ads targeting overseas clients — mostly from China — Yang promoted schmoozy fundraisers as opportunities to mingle with Trump, his family and other top Republicans.

A Miami Herald investigation revealed her business and many clients – ranging from Chinese tech-executives who took $50,000 photos with the president at a New York fundraiser for his re-election campaign, to a local leader with ties to the Chinese government.

This network graph is based on exclusive Miami Herald reporting and depicts who has gained access to Donald Trump and his family through Yang and how their presence at Yang events has financially benefited the president or his re-election campaign.

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Notice someone missing? Send us tips by emailing Sarah Blaskey, Caitlin Ostroff and Nicholas Nehamas.

About the network graph

None of the individuals in the above network graph have been accused of or charged with any crimes, unless otherwise indicated. Their presence in the network graph does not indicate wrongdoing of any kind.

This network graph does not provide a comprehensive list of Yang’s guests and will update as our investigation uncovers new names and connections. (Keep checking back!)

Cindy Yang is not included in the network graph though she attended every event. She advertised all of these events on Chinese social media, not by the official names listed above, but as dinners with the president or other meet-and-greet events. In all cases, she helped bring guests to the events. In some cases, she helped organize the events themselves. On March 3, 2018, Yang took a $50,000 photo with the president.

The individuals included in the network graph were confirmed by Herald reporting to have attended at least one Trump-related event through an invitation advertised by Yang.

You can see the relationship between a person and how they came to an event by highlighting the line connecting the two.

The relationship between an individual and an event labeled “attended” indicates the individuals were determined to have attended as a result of an invite that Yang promoted online by the following criteria: Attendees were ONLY included if their names appeared on BOTH an online media post by Yang or her associates as one of their guests AND a second verification that they had attended (i.e., a photo of them at the event, or another news article or blog post indicating they had attended, etc.).

The relationship between an individual and an event labeled “independently attended” indicates that the individual attended the event (confirmed through photos and social media posts) but not by way of an invitation from Yang. In every case, the individual attended at least one other event via an invite from Yang.

Individuals represented in the network graph might have attended other Trump-related events that are not included in the network graph. Only events that Yang advertised, organized, or paid to attend are included in the network graph.

Attendees with red photos were determined to have ties to the Communist Party of China based on one or more of the following factors: They are either current or former leaders of U.S.-based affiliated associations; have currently or previously held positions in the Communist Party; or have businesses financially backed by the Chinese government.

Attendees without a photo who also have a question mark over their generic silhouettes are people we determined to have attended through the criteria listed above, but whose identities we could not further verify.

Herald reporters made an effort to contact every person who appears on the network graph. In the few cases where the Herald could not find any contact information for a named individual, all further identifying information was removed from their written bio. In those cases, their mugs were pulled from published event photos — photos where they were clearly identified in the caption.

Events in the network graph fall into two categories: fundraisers for Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, and fundraisers held at Mar-a-Lago benefiting organizations not affiliated with Trump. In the case of the latter, the event paid to use the Mar-a-Lago club, which is owned by the Trump Organization and financially benefits Donald Trump. In cases where the campaign event was held at Mar-a-Lago, the event connects to both Trump Victory and the Trump Organization.

Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from contributing to political campaigns in the United States. It would be illegal for a foreign national to pay to attend any of the events benefiting Trump Victory. However, they can attend the event as a guest, so long as they never reimbursed someone for the ticket.

It is also illegal to buy a ticket to a campaign fundraiser through a middleman without disclosing the ultimate donor.

The same rules do not apply to the private events. Anyone can attend the other events held at Mar-a-Lago. Other than the event organizers, Mar-a-Lago staff solely determines who is allowed on the guest list, according to a statement by the U.S. Secret Service.

Information on if or how attendees paid for their access to the events and if or how attendees paid Yang is unknown unless otherwise indicated.

The cost of entrance to the event is based on invitations obtained by the Herald and/or information provided by the organizer of the event. In most cases, based on our reporting, Yang’s guests had VIP admission status. The higher dollar amounts were for either officially recognized sponsorships or photos with the president. Where we know a guest took a photo with the president, that is indicated with a second connection between the person and event, as the price for the photo would be in addition to the entrance fee.

In several instances, organizations affiliated with Yang co-sponsored events. Those sponsorships are not reflected in the network graph.

Miami Herald Investigations Editor Casey Frank and McClatchy Senior Manager of Design Eduardo M. Alvarez edited this project.
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