Controversial Cuban Vacation of Jay-Z and Beyonce Proven Legal

Documents released by the Treasury Department undercut lawmakers' claim.

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Celebrities really are just like us, even Jay-Z and Beyonce. Before taking their controversial vacation to Cuba in January, the couple had to file the same paperwork as the rest of us would.

When the destination for their wedding anniversary was discovered, many – including Florida Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republicans, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat – questioned the legality of the trip. Travel restrictions to Cuba have been in place since the 1960s because of the country's communist government.

[OPINION: Jay-Z and Beyonce Should Not Have Traveled to Cuba]

"Cuba's tourism industry is wholly state-controlled, therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people," Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart wrote in a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department in April.

 
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U.S. singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, right, tour Old Havana as a body guard, left, and tour guide, right, accompany them.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also questioned the duo's trip, saying the trip was used as propaganda by the Cuban government.

"U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime," he said in a press release April 8.

[READ: Beyonce Responds to Criticism Over Cuba Trip]

Some speculated the trip was approved because Beyonce and Jay-Z were buddy-buddy with President Barack Obama. The couple has donated more than $40,000 total to his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

But according to Freedom of Information Act documents released by the Treasury Department to MuckRock, an organization that works for government transparency, the vacation was well within legal restrictions and went through the normal processes to get approved.

The couple traveled under the license of the Sir John Soane Museum Foundation, a group supporting architectural and fine arts, and their trip was carefully structured to meet the educational requirements for a Cuban stay. Among the documents is an itinerary detailing the time and purpose of each of their activities, which included meeting local artists, attending a rehearsal at the Contemporary Dance Company of Cuba and listening to a lecture by Cuban architect Julio Cesar Perez.

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