DeFazio, Titus Request GSA Audit of Trump’s Old Post Office Lease
Washington, DC — Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Dina Titus (D-NV) reiterated their demand for documents from the General Services Administration (GSA) and requested that GSA conduct an audit of the Trump International Hotel.
Chairman DeFazio’s Committee has been investigating the lease for the Old Post Office Building which is owned by the federal government and leased to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. As both the President of the United States and the owner of the hotel, he is both the lessor and lessee of the property, which creates a conflict of interest. The lease expressly prohibits any elected official of the government of the United States from deriving any benefit from the lease. Because he chose not to separate himself from his investments, from the moment President Trump was sworn into office, he has breached the terms of his lease of the Old Post Office Building and is likely violating both the Domestic and Foreign Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Since the Committee’s investigation of the Trump Hotel lease began in 2016, multiple requests to GSA for documents related to the Old Post Office have been made. To date, GSA has provided over 10,000 pages of documents. However, GSA is still withholding key financial documents and legal records.
In their letter to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, Chairs DeFazio and Titus wrote that under the lease: “GSA can receive, as a part of its monthly rental payments, a portion of Trump International Hotel’s gross revenue. This creates an inherent conflict for GSA, which is benefitting from a lease that may not be valid and could be violating the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses. Worse still, GSA isn’t even attempting to gather the relevant financial data it needs to ensure compliance with the terms of lease or the Constitution. As GSA’s Public Buildings Commissioner Dan Matthews acknowledged at our September 25, 2019, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management hearing, GSA has not yet conducted an audit of the Trump International Hotel. Based on his testimony, it appears the only audited information that GSA has about the hotel, are annual audits conducted by a third-party company chosen by the Trump International Hotel.”
Earlier this year, the GSA Inspector General issued a report in response to a request by Chair DeFazio finding that GSA had failed to consider the impact of the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments clauses when it reviewed the hotel lease after President Trump was sworn-into office.
Details about last week’s Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee hearing “Landlord and Tenant: The Trump Administration’s Oversight of the Trump International Hotel Lease” can be found here.
A comprehensive timeline of the Committee’s investigation into this lease can be found here.
A full copy of the letter can be found here.