Rep. Johnson grills Acting GSA Administrator on Trump Hotel Lease
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) grilled the acting director of the General Services Administration (GSA), which is the civilian landlord of the federal government, over President Trump’s lease with the GSA for the Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Johnson questioned Acting Administrator Tim Horne on the lease in a hearing as Ranking Member of the Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. At issue is the possibility that the President might be violating the Foreign Emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits elected officials from accepting gifts or benefits from foreign leaders – who stay and hold events at the president’s hotel.
Although the president’s two adult sons run the day-to-day operation of the hotel, Trump is still profiting from the property by virtue of his interest being held in trust for his sole benefit. Johnson also said there is a clear conflict of interest as President Trump is both landlord and tenant in this case.
“A benefit delayed is not a benefit denied,” said Johnson.
“It is clear that no matter how many Russian nesting dolls President Trump may utilize to attempt to his conceal is improprieties, it remains inescapable that President Trump is still gaining a significant benefit by doing business with the GSA, an agency he controls. -- An agency that he is supposed to be leading on behalf of the American taxpayer.”
Johnson indicated that although the president has not disclosed financial documents pertaining to the Old Post Office Hotel and his interests, he looks forward to working with his colleagues to hold the executive branch accountable to the American people.
“All of these unanswered questions fall under a cloud of conflict of interest,” said Johnson. “We need to assure taxpayers that President Trump is not enriching himself while serving in the ultimate position of public trust. As ranking member of this subcommittee, I consider this my top priority and look forward to working with the other members of the Committee to resolve this issue satisfactorily.”
At the hearing, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Hank Johnson (D-GA) released a comprehensive report detailing GSA’s complete failure to administer the OPO lease agreement in accordance with the terms of the lease.