Cummings sends 51 letters to White House, others requesting compliance with document requests

Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsRule change sharpens Dem investigations into Trump Trump, Dems have reasons to work together, but tensions are boiling over Ivanka Trump claims president had 'zero' involvement in security clearances for her, Jared Kushner MORE (D-Md.) on Tuesday issued 51 letters to the heads of various government agencies and White House and Trump Organization officials seeking documents on a series of congressional investigations.

The likely chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee made clear he intends to continue investigations into the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria and handling of its family separation policy at the southern border, misconduct by top government officials and payments to the Trump Organization from foreign governments.

"These are documents that even the Republicans on the Oversight Committee — at least at some point in time — believed we needed to conduct effective oversight, but when the Trump Administration refused to comply fully, the Republicans would not issue a single subpoena," Cummings said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

"As Democrats prepare to take the reins in Congress, we are insisting — as a basic first step — that the Trump Administration and others comply with these Republican requests," he added.

The letters are not subpoenas, but provide an indication of the aggressive oversight Cummings plans to pursue when Democrats officially take the House majority in January.

The letters are addressed to the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS), lawyers with the Trump Organization, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and others.

Cummings indicated that he intends to continue the investigation into scandals surrounding former EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards MORE, who left in July under a cloud of ethics investigations.

The Democrat also said in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar that he plans to continue the investigation into the use of government-owned aircraft for personal travel and private aircraft for official business, which led to the ouster of former HHS Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceIs a presidential appointment worth the risk? Former Ryan aide moves to K street Grassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices MORE in September 2017. 

Each of the letters asks that officials comply with Cummings's requests for documents by Jan. 11.

Cummings has said in recent interviews that he does not plan to issue scores of subpoenas upon taking the gavel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The lawmaker said Sunday that the committee's first hearings will likely focus on "day-to-day" issues like drug prices.