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Democrats want investigation into cost, legality of Trump's July Fourth event

Senate Democrats are requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) open an investigation into the costs of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE's July Fourth celebration, including if it complied with legal restrictions on political activity. 
 
Democratic Sens. Tom UdallTom UdallSenate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin Study: Chemical used in paint thinners caused more deaths than EPA identified Oregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debate MORE (N.M.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Biden budget expands government's role in economy House narrowly approves .9B Capitol security bill after 'squad' drama MORE (Vt.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' Bass, Van Hollen to reintroduce bill to reform handling of nonviolent 911 calls Democrats to introduce bill to prevent default recurring political donations MORE (Md.) said in a letter to Gene Dodaro, GAO's comptroller general, that they are "concerned by the impacts and the precedent of diverting limited Federal resources" for the July Fourth events.
 
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"Further, we are troubled by reports that preferential access to the National Mall was organized by political entities such as the Republican National Committee, which furthers the appearance that taxpayer funds were used to accomplish political objectives," they added. 
 
The letter comes after Udall accused the Department of Interior last week of refusing to answer an inquiry from lawmakers about Trump's Independence Day plans, including how the additional cost of the plans will be covered. 
 
The Washington Post reported last week that the National Park Service had redirected $2.5 million from its overall budget to help pay for the "Salute to America" event. Trump, flanked by supporters and Pentagon officials, spoke for roughly 45 minutes, focusing largely on the U.S. military. 
 
As part of the GAO investigation, the senators are asking the watchdog agency to turn over cost estimates for the events, including separating out the costs for the national Independence Day parade, Trump's "Salute to America" event, the Capitol Fourth concert and the annual public viewing of the National Park Service fireworks display. 
 
They also want cost estimates related to July Fourth events on the mall for the last three years, and information on if any activities or programs were delayed, deferred or canceled to pay for the additional cost this year. They also want to know whether spending complied with restrictions on political actives, including the Hatch Act.