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Cummings and DeFazio Issue Statement on GSA Decision on Trump Hotel Lease

Mar 23, 2017
Press Release

Cummings and DeFazio Issue Statement  on GSA Decision on Trump Hotel Lease

 

Washington, D.C. (March 23, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, issued the following statement in response to a ruling from GSA’s contracting officer that President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel is not violating its lease:

“GSA changed the position it held before  President Trump took office.  This new interpretation renders this lease provision completely meaningless—any elected official can now defy the restriction by following this blueprint.  The letter provides a completely inadequate explanation for its decision and instead footnotes news articles and recites the complex structure of trusts and limited liability corporations through which President Trump and his family own the hotel.  This decision allows profits to be reinvested back into the hotel so Donald Trump can reap the financial benefits when he leaves the White House.  This is exactly what the lease provision was supposed to prevent.”

Since last November, Cummings, DeFazio, and Reps. Gerry Connolly and André Carson have requested information about how the GSA would address then-President-Elect Trump’s breach of the Old Post Office lease agreement, which bars any “elected official of the Government of the United States” from deriving “any benefit” from the agreement.

On December 14, 2017, Cummings, DeFazio, Connolly and Carson sent a follow-up letter to GSA after staff received a briefing from the Deputy Commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service. They wrote: “Most importantly, the Deputy Commissioner informed our staff that GSA assesses that Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017, unless he fully divests himself of all financial interests in the lease for the Washington D.C. hotel.  The Deputy Commissioner made clear that Mr. Trump must divest himself not only of managerial control, but of all ownership interest as well.”

 

115th Congress