GSA Audits Sought for Federal Properties Leased to Private Parties

November 14, 2019 by Dan McCue
The U.S. Capitol as it appears from The White House end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Trump International Hotel is to the tall building to the right. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – A pair of House committee chairs want the General Services Administration to conduct audits of federal properties that have been leased to private parties, including the Trump Hotel.

Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Dina Titus, D-Nev., chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, introduced legislation mandating the audits on Tuesday.

Under the terms of the GSA Lease Transparency Act of 2019, the first audit would be required within 90 days of the law’s enactment. From then on, the audits would be conducted on an annual basis.

The lawmakers say the legislation would address the GSA’s failure thus far to adequately track whether the Federal government is receiving all rent, revenues, and anything of value from tenants, including the Trump Organization, which has a 60-year lease with the federally-owned Old Post Office building in downtown Washington, D.C., redeveloped as the Trump International Hotel.

Importantly, they say, the bill also requires GSA to include terms in these leases granting GSA and the GSA Inspector General audit authority.

At a committee hearing on Sept. 25, GSA officials acknowledged the agency had not yet conducted an audit of the Trump International Hotel. 

Based on that 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.

“It is outrageous that the GSA currently allows certain tenants of Federally-owned buildings, including the Trump Organization, to hire a third-party of their own choosing to verify that they are complying with the terms of their lease,” Rep. DeFazio said.

“American taxpayers own these buildings, and they have a right to know whether the President, as both landlord and tenant, is providing proper payments to the Federal government, so it’s time GSA took back control of this important oversight function,” he said.

Titus agreed.

“Renters of government-owned buildings should undergo government audits to remove any doubt about lack of compliance with their lease,” she said. “We cannot permit the Trump Organization or any other tenant to obscure their activities in federal properties. American taxpayers deserve better.”

In addition to the Trump International Hotel, an estimated 5-10 leases would be affected by the legislation.

The text of the bill can be found here.

Oversight

GSA Audits Sought for Federal Properties Leased to Private Parties Oversight
GSA Audits Sought for Federal Properties Leased to Private Parties
November 14, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - A pair of House committee chairs want the General Services Administration to conduct audits of federal properties that have been leased to private parties, including the Trump Hotel. Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Dina Titus,... Read More

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