IG Report: GSA Ignored Concerns Trump’s Hotel Violates Constitution
January 17, 2019
A new inspector general report found “serious shortcomings” in the GSA’s decision to overlook concerns that Trump’s ownership of a D.C. hotel violated the Constitution.
The GSA “ignored” the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause when it allowed Trump to keep his D.C. hotel.
Washington Post: “The General Services Administration ‘ignored’ concerns that President Trump’s lease on a government-owned building — the one that houses his Trump International Hotel in Washington — might violate the Constitution when it allowed Trump to keep the lease after he took office, according to a new report from the agency’s inspector general.”
The GSA IG report said that the GSA’s decision-making process related to Trump’s hotel “included serious shortcomings.”
IG Report: “GSA’s decision-making process related to tenant’s possible breach of the lease included serious shortcomings. GSA had an obligation to uphold and enforce the Constitution. However, GSA opted not to seek any guidance from OLC and did not address the constitutional issues related to the management of the lease.”
Concerns about Trump’s lease were immediately raised after Trump’s election, but the GSA seemed unconcerned about looking into it.
Washington Post: “The Constitution May Have Something To Say About How Trump Runs His DC Hotel”
New York Times: “Donald Trump’s Far-Flung Holdings Raise Potential For Conflicts Of Interest”
Associated Press: “A Look At 5 Trump Business Ties That Pose Conflicts”
At the time, the GSA officer in charge of making the decision on Trump’s hotel called concerns over him keeping his lease “a fair amount of nonsense.”
Bloomberg: “Shortly after Donald Trump won the presidential election, the U.S. official who oversees the lease of his signature Washington hotel offered Trump’s company an assessment of a report about its potential conflict of interest: ‘Nonsense.’ Four months later, the same official cleared Trump’s company to keep its lease for the Trump International Hotel Washington DC. throughout the president’s time in office — a decision that may have saved Trump millions of dollars, based on a statement his lawyers made in a court filing in May. Kevin Terry, the GSA’s contracting officer in charge of the hotel lease, referred to the issue in a Nov. 11, 2016, email to Trump’s company, forwarding an article from the news site BuzzFeed that said his agency had acknowledged the potential conflict of interest. ‘FYI – A fair amount of nonsense,’ Terry wrote. His email, which was obtained by Bloomberg News, went to two other GSA employees as well as to an executive with the Trump Organization, the umbrella group that oversees the president’s various businesses.”