Ethics Watchdog Sues GSA for Trump International Hotel Lease Records

As Trump Hosts Fundraiser in Taxpayer-Owned Building, American Oversight Demands Release of Communications between Trump Associates and General Services Administration

Washington, DC — Hours before President Trump was scheduled to host a political fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel, located in the government-owned Old Post Office Building in Washington, DC, ethics watchdog group American Oversight sued to force the release of communications between the Trump Organization and the government agency that manages the taxpayer-owned building.

“President Trump’s fundraiser isn’t just raising funds for his campaign, it’s putting money into his personal pocketbook. This is exactly why the lease includes a term specifically prohibiting elected officials from owning a stake in its profits,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “The only art to this deal is the whitewashed conflict of interest of the president finding yet another way to turn the presidency into a money-making opportunity.”

The Old Post Office building is leased to the Trump organization by the General Services Administration (GSA). The terms of Trump’s lease with the GSA specify that no elected official may profit from the hotel. Nevertheless, the GSA – whose acting administrator was appointed by Trump – ruled on March 23, 2017 that the president’s ownership of the hotel did not violate the lease.

American Oversight filed multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the GSA seeking communications between GSA officials and the Trump organization, campaign, and transition team regarding the hotel lease. In particular, American Oversight requested any correspondence between Trump representatives and Timothy Horne, the GSA official who was appointed by Trump to head the agency.

GSA failed to adequately respond to the FOIA requests as required by law, so American Oversight filed suit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to force the agency to release the records.

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