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Oversight of the Trump International Hotel

This week, I sent a letter to the General Services Administration (GSA) to reiterate my demand for documents from the Trump International Hotel. The President is violating the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution, personally profiting directly from foreign governments who are booking rooms at the hotel.

As both the President of the United States and the owner of a hotel occupying a federal building, he is both the lessor and lessee of the property, which creates a conflict of interest and is in violation of the lease. The lease expressly prohibits any elected official of the government of the United States from deriving any benefit from the lease.

Since my Committee's investigation of the Trump Hotel lease began in 2016, I've sent multiple requests to GSA for documents related to the Old Post Office. To date, GSA has provided over 10,000 pages of documents. However, GSA is still withholding key financial documents and legal records.

I am demanding the GSA provide the key financial documents so that I can continue to aggressively investigate and pursue the truth on behalf of the American people.

Trump and GSA are trying to stonewall and slow me down in my investigation with every opportunity. But you can guarantee that I won't stop until we hold the President accountable for taking advantage of taxpayers and violating the Constitution.

More soon,

Summary of T&I Committee oversight actions:

During Republican Control of the House

  • November 2016: DeFazio and Subcommittee Ranking Member Andre Carson join Oversight & Government Reform Ranking Members Cummings and Connolly in sending a letter to then-Administrator Roth requesting information about how the GSA plans to address the imminent breach-of-lease and conflict of interest issues created by President-elect Donald Trump's lease with the U.S. Government for the Trump International Hotel building.

  • January 23, 2017: DeFazio joins House Oversight & Government Reform Ranking Member Cummings in sending a letter to GSA Acting Administrator Timothy Horne requesting that GSA re-evaluate the Old Post Office lease agreement, an explanation of the steps GSA had taken or planned to take in response to the alleged breach of contract, and copies of notices sent to Trump Old Post Office, LLC concerning the breach of lease or notices sent in response to the public reports of construction liens filed against the Old Post Office building unredacted monthly reports of both the revenues and expenses for the Trump International Hotel any correspondence that GSA had with Trump Old Post Office, LLC or the Trump transition team regarding the Trump International Hotel.

  • February 9, 2017: Response letter from GSA declined to provide any substantive information requested.
  • March 2017: In-person staff briefing on the lease following the GSA contract officer's decision that the lease was in compliance.
  • March 7, 2017: DeFazio and Subcommittee Ranking Member Hank Johnson send a letter to GSA IG requesting an investigation into the management and administration of the Old Post Office lease agreement with the Trump Organization.
  • April 6, 2017: DeFazio and Johnson join Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Ranking Member Carper and Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Cardin demanding an explanation of why the information requested by Ranking Members had not been provided by GSA. The letter requested an explanation for this partisan change in policy, which officials provided this guidance, and whether the White House or any other federal agency provided instruction on this matter.
  • June 12, 2017: DeFazio and Hank Johnson send a letter to GSA Acting Administrator Timothy Horne requesting response to previous letters.
  • July 2017: Democrats on T&I had sent five letters to GSA requesting documents related to the Old Post Office lease. GSA failed to provide most of the information requested.
  • July 12, 2017: Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management hearing. Ranking Member DeFazio repeatedly asks Acting GSA Administrator Timothy Horne to answer questions about the administration and management of the Old Post Office lease agreement. Horne was not able to answer DeFazio's questions and some of Horne's responses directly countered testimony from other GSA officials testifying before the Senate on the same day.

July 12, 2017: Ranking Member DeFazio and Subcommittee Ranking Member Hank Johnson release Democratic staff report titled "Breach of a Lease: The Tale of the Old Post Office in the Swamp" detailing GSA's complete failure to administer the OPO lease agreement in accordance with the terms of the lease.

Ranking Members DeFazio and Johnson introduce a Resolution of Inquiry to force GSA to produce:

  • All guidance or direction to the Acting Administrator or other GSA staff regarding responses to requests for information from Members of Congress and Ranking Members of Committees;
  • All documents associated with the OPO lease agreement between the Government and the Trump Organization, including annual statements, budgets, mortgage agreements, and claims; and
  • All legal memoranda or opinions regarding the OPO lease agreement.

Due to Republicans continued refusal to conduct oversight on the Trump Organization's lease, DeFazio lost the vote on the Resolution of Inquiry and the resolution was reported unfavorably to the floor with no subsequent action.

  • January 16, 2019: GSA IG releases report finding that GSA did not consider the emoluments clause in advance of a GSA contracting officer certifying the new organizational structure put in place by President Trump.

  • January 22, 2019: Chairman DeFazio and Chair Titus send a letter to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy requesting records and answers to questions from previous letters.

  • February 12, 2019: GSA responds to DeFazio/Titus Jan. 22 request with responsive documents and begins rolling productions to the Committee; to date the Committee has received thousands of pages of documents from GSA but there are still outstanding categories of documents that GSA has withheld.

  • September 25, 2019: Chairs DeFazio and Titus hold a hearing in the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management to demand answers about unreleased documents and financial records crucial to the investigation.

  • October 1, 2019: Chairs DeFazio and Titus reiterate their requests for withheld documents from GSA and ask that GSA conduct an audit of the Trump Hotel lease and examine hotel records to determine which transitions may constitute emoluments violations.

Posted on October 8, 2019.

As Independent as Oregon.

Peter DeFazio's common-sense proposals aim to create good-paying jobs, expand access to affordable health care and develop options outside of the for-profit marketplace, restore economic and educational opportunities, hold government accountable and tip the scales of inequality back in favor of hard-working Oregonians.

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