GSA Inspector General Report on Trump Hotel Lease

The U.S. General Services Administration Inspector General issued a redacted report on the lease of the Old Post Office Building (OPO) in Washington, D.C., to the Trump organization Trump Old Post Office LLC. The report, Evaluation of GSA’s Management and Administration of the Old Post Office Building Lease (JE19-002 Jan. 16, 2019), is the result of the Inspector General’s investigation, initiated in 2017, of issues raised by the Trump Hotel lease: whether

the Foreign Emoluments Clause or the Presidential Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution bar President Donald J. Trump’s business interest in the Trump Old Post Office LLC,

and whether the President’s business interest in the property violate the terms of the lease. The report finds that:

GSA recognized that the President’s business interest in the OPO lease raised
issues under the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses that might cause a breach of the lease; however, GSA decided not to address those issues in connection with the management of the lease. We also found that the decision to exclude the emoluments issues from GSA’s consideration of the lease was improper because GSA, like all government agencies, has an obligation to uphold and enforce the Constitution;
and because the lease, itself, requires that consideration. In addition, we found that GSA’s unwillingness to address the constitutional issues affected its analysis of Section 37.19 of the lease that led to GSA’s conclusion that Tenant’s business structure satisfied the terms and conditions of the lease. As a result, GSA foreclosed an early resolution of these issues, including a possible solution satisfactory to all parties; and the uncertainty over the lease remains unresolved.
Congressional complaints, lawsuits, and news reports have repeatedly alleged that the OPO/Trump Hotel has been used by foreign government groups and U.S. federal government groups for hotel stays and events, generating large profits for President Trump’s businesses, in which he maintains substantial interests.
Related Reading:
GSA Says Trump D.C. Hotel Is Valid, Despite Ban on Elected Officials, Jackie Northam & Marilyn Geewax, NPR, March 23, 2017.
 Trump Hotel Lease Under New Review As Lawmakers Keep Up Criticism, Jackie Northam, NPR, September 2, 2017. 
Agency Ignored Constitutional Questions About Trump Hotel Lease, Sharon LaFraniere, N.Y. Times, Jan. 16, 2019.

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