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Clause violations have the President in hot seat

President Trump’s ties to a D.C. hotel are another reason Democrats are questioning

The General Services Administration Office stood by their decision not to hold the president in violation of the constitution despite his financial ties to the Trump International Hotel, according to House Democrats.

On Wednesday, the House subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management met to discuss U.S. Inspector General Carol Ochoa’s, accusation that the General Services Administration “failed” to conduct reviews into President Trump’s interest in the hotel after his inauguration in 2017.

According to the Inspector General’s Office, the Administration Office’s failure to review the president’s interest make him in violation of the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause.

“No Emoluments Violations”

The Domestic Emolument Clause in the U.S. Constitution prohibits the sitting president from receiving any additional money from the federal government or the states outside of his annual salary for being chief executive.

According to Legislative Attorney Michael Foster, the foreign and domestic clauses have been “little discussed and largely unexamined by the courts,” but lawsuits against President Trump have caused the courts to reexamine them.

Daniel Mathews, the public buildings commissioner for the General Services Administration, testified at the hearing and repeatedly said there was “no emoluments violation.”

Mathews, a trump political appointee to the Office, also testified that the General Services Administration has “worked diligently to respond to Congressional oversight requests concerning this project.”

House Republicans supported Mathews’ testimony and seemed to be united in wanting the committee to “focus on the real issues.”

“Once again, here we are in the drama of everything related to ‘President Trump is bad’,” said Mark Meadows, R-N.C. in his opening statement.

Background

In 2013, Congress and the General Services Administration Office chose the Trump Old Post Office, LLC to be the new developer of the Old Post Office Building. Located in Washington, D.C., the Old Post Office Building now houses the Trump International Hotel.

After the opening of the hotel in 2016, President Trump won the presidency making his interest in the Hotel lease an issue. He agreed to give the proceeds of the hotel to the Department of Treasury.

However, the Administration Office has not provided Congress with any substantial records to verify this, according to Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.

“I made this same request two years ago, but we have still not received your monthly earnings,” Norton said.

 Impeachment Inquiry

 The hearing was held one day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her intention to hold impeachment inquiries to President Trump.

The profits from the hotel and foreign leaders staying at the hotel, tie into other questions into President Trump’s outside affiliations, according to Chairwoman Dina Titus, D-NV.

Still, the General Services Administration stand by their decision to not review the president’s interests. The hearing ended with uncertainty that they would release audit records to Congress.

“They failed their oath to uphold the Constitution,” testified Walter Shaub, senior advisor for the U.S. Department of Ethics.

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