Oversight Chairs Demand GSA Not Grant Rent Reductions for Trump Hotel
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 21, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, issued a statement regarding a troubling new report that the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. is asking for a break on its lease payments from the General Services Administration (GSA), the landlord for the property.
“As soon as Donald Trump was sworn in as President, his lease with the federal government for the Trump Hotel should have ended because it explicitly bars contracts with pubic officials. Instead, President Trump has been violating this contract for three years while GSA ignores the law. If these new reports are accurate, it appears that the President’s company is now seeking rent reductions from GSA—which of course reports to him. Our Committee and ethics experts across the political spectrum have long warned of these blatant conflicts of interest, and it is time for GSA to finally stand up to the President and grant no rent reductions for the Trump Hotel.”
On April 12, 2019, then-Chairman Elijah E. Cummings and Chairman Connolly sent a letter to GSA requesting documents that have been withheld for years relating to the Trump Organization’s lease with the federal government for the Trump Hotel.
The Committee’s request followed a report by the GSA Office of the Inspector General which raised grave questions about the management of this lease. The report concluded that GSA “recognized that the President’s business interest in the OPO lease raised issues under the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses that might cause a breach of the lease,” but GSA “attorneys decided to ignore the emoluments issues” in their assessment of the lease. The report found “serious shortcomings” in GSA’s decision-making processes relating to the possible breach of the lease and recognized that “the constitutional issues surrounding the President’s business interests in the lease remain unresolved.”
The Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing on June 27, 2019, to hear directly from agency personnel involved in the document production, gather additional information about any obstacles hindering GSA’s progress, and encourage compliance with the Committee’s requests.
Nonetheless, in the almost ten months since the hearing, GSA has not produced a single document relating to the Committee’s investigation.