House Democrats say President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE’s hotel in Washington, D.C., raises alarms about ties between his incoming administration and his business empire.
Four top Dems on Wednesday sent a letter to the General Services Administration (GSA) asking how it will handle the relationship between Trump’s future government and his D.C. Trump International Hotel.
“Mr. Trump’s lease contains a provision specifically barring any ‘elected official of the government of the United States’ from deriving ‘any benefit’ from the agreement. We do not see this as an ambiguous provision, but as a strict and categorical ban,” they said in the letter to GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth.
“The contractual breach threatened by Mr. Trump’s swearing-in is compounded by the general and egregious conflict of interests posed by his appointing the GSA administrator who will oversee this lease with the hotel,” they added.
“This is not a hypothetical conflict — there is a clear and very real conflict that will be triggered the moment Mr. Trump is sworn in as president of the United States unless concrete steps are taken now to avert it.”
Wednesday’s letter was signed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
It was also signed by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the ranking member of the Committee on Transportation, and Reps. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.).
The quartet argued Trump could not avoid violating his hotel lease by transferring his business interests to his family: “Even if Mr. Trump transfers control of the Trump International Hotel to his children or places it into a trust, he will still derive a financial benefit, thereby violating the terms of the lease.”
The D.C. Trump International Hotel opened last month after $200 million in renovations and is not actually owned by Trump. Trump signed a 60-year lease for the building from the federal government, directly tying him to the historic headquarters of the U.S. Post Office.
Critics have repeatedly warned that Trump’s business interests may have undue influence over his incoming presidency.
Trump said earlier Wednesday he plans on announcing in December the details of leaving his business “in total” to focus on the presidency.
The president-elect has frequently indicated he wants his children to assume control of his business, but questions remain about the ethics and logistics of that move.