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House Democrats Sue Trump Administration For Withholding Documents On D.C. Hotel

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Trump Hotel Old Post Office Building DC
The entrance to the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office building in D.C.

A group of Democrats in the House of Representatives has grown increasingly frustrated over what they see as a lack of transparency around The Trump Organization's D.C. hotel, and they are now taking the president to court. 

The Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform filed a complaint against the Trump administration in Federal District Court in D.C. Thursday for withholding documents related to the hotel. 

The Trump Organization leases the Old Post Office building, where it opened the 263-room hotel in September 2016, from the federal government, an arrangement that has already sparked several legal and ethical complaints. The attorneys general of Maryland and D.C. sued the president in June for accepting foreign payments to the hotel. 

The House Democrats allege the General Services Administration has refused to produce documents related to the hotel at the group's request. The documents relate to foreign government payments at the hotel, the extent to which Trump is using the hotel for personal gain and the reason for the GSA's reversal on the legality of the lease after Trump took office. A GSA spokesperson, reached via email, declined to comment. 

The committee's Republican members have not joined in the requests, but the Democrats point to a federal law requiring agencies to produce documents requested by any seven members of the committee. The group said the Obama administration complied with requests under this law. 

“This lawsuit is not just about a hotel in Washington, D.C.,” Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee's top Democrat, said in a release. “This is about the president defying a federal statute and denying our ability as Members of Congress to fulfill our constitutional duty to act as a check on the Executive Branch.”