GSA IG reviewing Trump hotel lease

Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)The Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.

A federal contracting officer at the General Services Administration decided in March that there were no conflicts or other issues arising from President Donald Trump's lease of the federally owned building that is now the Washington, D.C., Trump International Hotel, but now the agency's inspector general wants a look at how the agency handled the lease.

In an Aug. 30 email to FCW, a GSA IG spokeswoman confirmed that report. "Our Office of Inspections has initiated an evaluation of GSA's management and administration of the Old Post Office Building ground lease," said the statement. News of the evaluation was first reported by Federal News Radio.

The lease has been a bone of contention for Trump since before he took office, as congressional and government ethics groups have said his continued ownership of the property, which sits on Pennsylvania Ave. between the White House and Capitol Hill, violates the lease and federal rules.

The president transferred operations of his businesses to his sons and the Trump Organization before he took office, but there is concern over how he might still benefit.

The lease Trump signed with the GSA before he was elected stipulated government officials cannot profit from the property. The agency said in March its terms haven't been violated.

"As soon as the President was sworn in the Trump Organization was in violation of its lease," said an Aug. 29 statement from Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a long-time critic of Trump's lease of the property.

"The language in the lease makes absolutely clear that no elected official can benefit from the contract. GSA's determination otherwise is confounding and taints this administration. This review by the Inspector General is important and must be free of any interference."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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