WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, responded to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s (CREW) findings that, contrary to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) determination last month, President Trump can financially benefit from the lease of the Old Post Office Building and therefore is not in compliance with the lease’s conflict of interest provision. As a result of its findings, the ethics watchdog organization wrote to Senator Carper and Chairman Barrasso today requesting that the committee, which has jurisdiction over the GSA Public Building Service, review and investigate GSA’s original determination.
In a briefing last month with Senator Carper’s staff, GSA was unable to answer basic questions regarding the agency’s determination that President Trump is deriving no ‘benefit’ from the lease.
“When an agency undertakes an investigation into conflicts of interest, the public expects it to be conducted thoroughly. Unfortunately, in its review of the Trump hotel lease, it appears as though GSA missed – or ignored – crucial details.
“It is now clear from CREW’s analysis that President Trump can financially benefit from his lease of the Old Post Office Building because the lease is retained in a trust that President Trump continues to control and may access at any time. Moreover, CREW also noted other ways the President may be directly benefiting from the lease, such as through the purchase of Trump-branded wine, coffee and other food products for the Hotel and through principal payments on loans held by the President that could reduce his debt or free up his collateral for future business ventures. GSA appears to have failed to look into these key points and was entirely unable to justify its determination to me and my staff on multiple occasions. Making a determination with incomplete information and no legal basis is unacceptable and warrants further review.
“I commend CREW on its detailed analysis of the Trump Hotel lease and its pursuit of the truth. I stand ready to work with the chairman and our EPW colleagues to continue to investigate this matter in a thorough and transparent manner. Americans deserve to know that those at the highest levels of our government are following the rules and serving the public, not themselves.”