Inspector General Report Implies Trump Violated Constitution with Hotel Lease

January 25, 2019 by Tom Ramstack
The Trump International Hotel under construction on March 6, 2016 in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit claiming he President Donald Trump is improperly profiting from the hotel still stands. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/TNS)

The U.S. General Services Administration demonstrated “serious shortcomings” in reviewing conflicts of interest in the lease on Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, a report this week says.

The report by the General Services Administration’s (GSA) inspector general is likely to become important evidence in a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland.

The Trump Organization obtained a 60-year lease on the historic Old Post Office Pavilion in 2013. They then converted it to a luxury hotel often frequented by foreign dignitaries and other associates of President Donald Trump’s businesses.

A lawsuit filed by the D.C. and Maryland attorneys general accuses Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids high-level government officials from profiting through their association with foreign governments.

The lawsuit also says Trump International Hotel unfairly takes business away from other local hotels and restaurants while benefiting the president. The case is pending in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The GSA inspector general’s report echoes some of the complaints in the lawsuit.

“GSA had an obligation to uphold and enforce the Constitution,” the report says. “However, GSA opted not to seek any guidance from OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) and did not address the constitutional issues related to the management of the lease.”

The lease said no elected federal official could run the hotel or profit from it.

After Trump won the presidency, the GSA issued a 166-page decision that said the president was in “full compliance” with the lease.

However, the inspector general’s report this week reached a different conclusion, saying the GSA ignored “issues under the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause that might cause a breach of the lease.”

In addition, The New York Times reported this week that the Trump campaign spent $1.5 million for its staff members to stay at the hotel before the election.

Spotlight

Elevator Mechanics Hold Out Against COVID-19 Pandemic
Labor
Elevator Mechanics Hold Out Against COVID-19 Pandemic
November 17, 2020
by Reece Nations

Of all the classes of workers who have come to be highlighted as “essential” during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, one group that is often, unfairly overlooked are those who keep the infrastructure of high rise offices and residential buildings functioning -- elevator mechanics. Throughout the pandemic’s... Read More

America Will Likely Have to Wait for Biden Cabinet Picks
Political News
America Will Likely Have to Wait for Biden Cabinet Picks
November 10, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - President-elect Joe Biden wasted no time in assembling the new coronavirus task force he unveiled Monday, but it will likely be early December before the majority of Americans learn who the new president has picked for his cabinet. The plan, according to people familiar... Read More

New Government Run Health Insurance Option Could Be More Expensive Than Initial Projections, Study Shows
Health
New Government Run Health Insurance Option Could Be More Expensive Than Initial Projections, Study Shows
November 5, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON -- With Congress considering significant health care reforms, including creating a government-run health insurance plan called the public option, a new study shows that it could be significantly more expensive than previously estimated. The study, released by Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D., Tom Church, and Daniel... Read More

Ads Distort Gordon's Military Service
2020 Elections
Ads Distort Gordon's Military Service
October 27, 2020
by Dan McCue

This is an installment of an ongoing series of political advertising fact checks during the 2020 campaign. If you would like to submit an advertisement for consideration, please email a link to [email protected] A pair of advertisements, one funded by a super PAC dedicated to securing... Read More

Corporate Pro Bono Initiatives Deliver Legal Aid to Those Who Need It Most
Business
Corporate Pro Bono Initiatives Deliver Legal Aid to Those Who Need It Most
October 27, 2020
by Sean Trambley

When Gwen Boyd-Willis was released from a Georgia women’s prison after a four-month sentence for fraudulently using an ATM card left in a machine, she faced new barriers to gaining employment and becoming a productive member of society. Candid with her mistakes, she wanted to make... Read More

Georgia's Tilt Toward Blue an Ominous Specter for GOP Heading into Election
2020 Elections
Georgia's Tilt Toward Blue an Ominous Specter for GOP Heading into Election
October 24, 2020
by Dan McCue

President Donald Trump was in his element. Standing before more than 1,000 supporters who had jammed a large hanger facility at Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon, Ga., he promised a "red wave" would crush Democrats in November. He had not a moment of doubt, he... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top