GSA: On Second Thought, Trump's Old Post Office Arrangement Does Not Violate Lease
In a Thursday letter, GSA contracting officer Kevin Terry said the steps taken by the organization to separate President Donald Trump from the hotel's revenues were adequate, the Washington Business Journal first reported.
The issue arose because of a clause in the GSA's lease with the Trump Organization stating no U.S. elected official could benefit from the lease. In the days leading up to his inauguration, Trump outlined a new arrangement that would separate him from his businesses but not fully divest his interests.
In February, Trump handed control of the hotel over to his son, Donald Trump Jr. After multiple meetings between representatives of the company with the GSA, the agency determined the arrangement complies with the terms of the lease.
Thursday's decision drew immediate backlash from Trump's political opponents in the Capitol. Government Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and transportation and infrastructure committee ranking member Rep. Peter DeFazio released a joint statement.
"This decision allows profits to be reinvested back into the hotel so Donald Trump can reap the financial benefits when he leaves the White House," the statement said. "This is exactly what the lease provision was supposed to prevent.”
Trump has yet to name a permanent administrator for the GSA, which has been operating under acting administrator Timothy Horne. Public Buildings Commissioner Norman Dong, a career official who oversaw the Old Post Office Building arrangement, left the GSA earlier this month.