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 John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE's July Fourth celebration, including if it complied with legal restrictions on political activity. 
 
Democratic Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallTrump seeks to expand electoral map with New Mexico rally Trump at a pivotal crossroads on Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran | Pentagon chief calls attack on Saudi oil facilities 'unprecedented' | Administration weighs response | 17th US service member killed in Afghanistan this year MORE (N.M.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine On The Money: Trump delays increase in China tariffs until Oct. 15 | Treasury says US deficit topped trillion in 11 months | Defense spending bill advances over Democratic wall objections MORE (Vt.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenProgressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum Senators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir Democratic candidates are building momentum for a National Climate Bank 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.