Agency: Trump's Washington hotel not in violation of lease
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A federal agency has ruled that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE's hotel in Washington, D.C., does not violate lease terms that prohibit elected officials from receiving benefits, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.

A clause in the hotel's lease states that “no … elected official of the Government of the United States ... shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom,” as reported by the Government Executive.

Trump signed the document with the General Services Administration (GSA) in 2013, before his presidential campaign. The hotel opened last year.

After Trump won the White House, some said the GSA should terminate the lease agreement for the hotel.

The agency, however, concluded that the president's hotel is in "full compliance" with the agreement.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a non-profit left-leaning legal watchdog that filed a complaint to the GSA about Trump's hotel, said that the ruling is a "disappointment."

"Donald Trump still owns the hotel, still will benefit from payments and still has a vested interest in its success," the group's Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

"These were issues the ban on ownership by a government official meant to preclude and why we filed a complaint with the GSA. The problems remain, as they were on inauguration day, unaddressed," he added.

Democrats also criticized the GSA, stating that the agency "provides a completely inadequate explanation" for its decision.

"GSA changed the position it held before President Trump took office. This new interpretation renders this lease provision completely meaningless — any elected official can now defy the restriction by following this blueprint," Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote in a statement.

"The letter provides a completely inadequate explanation for its decision and instead footnotes news articles and recites the complex structure of trusts and limited liability corporations through which President Trump and his family own the hotel," they added. 

The lawmakers maintained that the decision allows profits to be reinvested into the hotel "so Donald Trump can reap the financial benefits when he leaves the White House. This is exactly what the lease provision was supposed to prevent.”

- This story was updated at 5:47 p.m.