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Architectural details at Old Post Office Building located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. 2012 January. Highsmith, Carol M., 1946- LC-DIG-highsm- 25088 (Before Trump got a 60 yr lease on it).

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3867112-Trump-Financial-Disclosure-2017.html (Received by the Ethics Office on June 14, 2017)

According to an Asian diplomat, ‘Why wouldn’t I stay at [Defendant’s] hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say ‘I am staying at your competitor?’ ‘One Middle Eastern diplomat put it even more simply: ‘Believe me, all the delegations will go there.” “For Foreign Diplomats, Trump Hotel Is Place To Be“, Wash. Post (Nov. 18, 2016), as cited in Blumenthal et. al. vs Trump, Case 1:17-cv-01154 Document 1 Filed 06/14/17 Page 40 of 54 http://ia801507.us.archive.org/30/items/gov.uscourts.dcd.187220/gov.uscourts.dcd.187220.1.0.pdf

On June 12, 2017, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine filed suit against Trump and wrote: “President Trump’s continued ownership interest in a global business empire, which renders him deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors, violates the Constitution, calling into question the rule of law and the integrity of our political system,” the complaint states. For example, the President continues to own luxury hotel and resort properties — including a new one just down the street from the White House — catering to foreign and state government business.http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/press/2017/061217.pdf


https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3867112-Trump-Financial-Disclosure-2017.html (Received by the Ethics Office on June 14, 2017)

In the event more recent lawsuit filed by almost 200 Members of Congress (Senator Blumenthal et. al. vs Trump), on June 14, 2017, it is observed that “Defendant [i.e. Trump] owns approximately 77 percent of Trump Old Post Office LLC. [85]
49. Defendant’s Washington, D.C. hotel has been “actively courting” foreign diplomats for their business [86] including hiring a “director of diplomatic sales” and hosting an event soon after the November 2016 election in which “[a]bout 100 foreign diplomats, from Brazil to Turkey” were given “a sales pitch about [Defendant]’s newest hotel.”[87]
50. According to public reports, diplomats plan to stay at the hotel to curry favor with
Defendant: “In interviews with a dozen diplomats . . . some said spending money at Trump’s hotel is an easy, friendly gesture to the new president.”
[88] According to an Asian diplomat, “Why wouldn’t I stay at [Defendant’s] hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say ‘I am staying at your competitor?’”[89] One Middle Eastern diplomat put it even more simply: “Believe me, all the delegations will go there.”[90]
51. By virtue of his ownership of the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., Defendant has accepted, or necessarily will accept, “Emolument[s]” from a “foreign State” or its agent or instrumentality every time foreign diplomats stay at the hotel, foreign embassies hold events there, or foreign governments otherwise pay for rooms there. [85] See U.S. Office of Gov’t Ethics Form 278e, supra note 71. 86 Eric Lipton & Susanne Craig, At Trump Hotel in Washington, Champagne Toasts in an Ethical ‘Minefield,’ N.Y. Times (Jan. 19, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/us/politics/trump-international-hotel-ethics.html. 87 Jonathan O’Connell & Mary Jordan, For Foreign Diplomats, Trump Hotel Is Place To Be, Wash. Post (Nov. 18, 2016), https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/2016/11/18/9da9c572-ad18-11e6-977a-1030f822fc35_story.html?utm_term=.1a4c839c9c6a. 88 Id. 89 Id. 90 Id.
(Case 1:17-cv-01154 Document 1 Filed 06/14/17 Page 40 of 54 http://ia801507.us.archive.org/30/items/gov.uscourts.dcd.187220/gov.uscourts.dcd.187220.1.0.pdf )

On January 30, 2017, US Congress Members Claire McCaskill and Tom Carper wrote the following to Carol F. Ochoa, Inspector General of the US General Services Administration: “In June 2015, when then-candidate Trump announced his intention to run for President of the United States, warning signs regarding a potential conflict of interest became apparent because the lease agreement includes a clause that prohibits elected officials from being party to the agreement, in order to prevent favoritism or preferential treatment to federal officials. The lease states: “No … elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom; provided, however, that this provision shall not be construed as extending to any Person who may be a shareholder or other beneficial owner of any publicly held corporation or other entity, if this Lease is for the general benefit of such corporation or other entity.”[1] Since President Trump took the oath of office, the Trump Old Post Office, LLC appears to be in breach of the plain language of the lease agreement. President Trump has repeatedly stated that although he will resign from his positions at the various companies of the Trump Organization, he will not divest his ownership.[2] As such, President Trump is now effectively both landlord and tenant of the Old Post Office Building…” [1 Old Post Office Ground lease, Article 37.19, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (Aug. 5, 2013). 2 See e.g. , Trump to Step Down from Business but won’t Divest Ownership, BLOOMBERG (Jan. 11, 2017) ( online at www. bloomberg.corn/politics/articles/2017-01-11/trump-to-step-down-from-business-will-not-divest-ownership ). ] https://www.carper.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/0680fc46-1a0c-46a1-a3e6-90ad14f5023c/2017-01-30-letter-to-gsa-oig-re-gsa-opo-lease-press-.pdf

On Dec 14, 2016: “the Deputy Commissioner informed our staff that GSA assesses that Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017, unless he fully divests himself of all financial interests in the lease for the Washington D.C. hotel.  The Deputy Commissioner made clear that Mr. Trump must divest himself not only of managerial control, but of all ownership interest as well… the top official from Mr. Trump’s business organization that GSA has been working with on the lease is Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.” “GSA Says Trump Must Fully Divest Ownership of D.C. Hotel to Avoid Breach“Dec 14, 2016 Press Release https://democrats-oversight.house.gov/news/press-releases/gsa-says-trump-must-fully-divest-ownership-of-dc-hotel-to-avoid-breach

But once Trump was President things changed. On March 23, 2017:
GSA Decision on Trump Hotel Lease
This new interpretation renders this lease provision completely meaningless.
House Oversight Dems Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings – Oversight and Government Reform Democrats Mar 23

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, issued the following statement in response to a ruling from GSA’s contracting officer that President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel is not violating its lease:

“GSA changed the position it held before President Trump took office. This new interpretation renders this lease provision completely meaningless — any elected official can now defy the restriction by following this blueprint. The letter provides a completely inadequate explanation for its decision and instead footnotes news articles and recites the complex structure of trusts and limited liability corporations through which President Trump and his family own the hotel. This decision allows profits to be reinvested back into the hotel so Donald Trump can reap the financial benefits when he leaves the White House. This is exactly what the lease provision was supposed to prevent.”

Since last November, Cummings, DeFazio, and Reps. Gerry Connolly and André Carson have requested information about how the GSA would address then-President-Elect Trump’s breach of the Old Post Office lease agreement, which bars any “elected official of the Government of the United States” from deriving “any benefit” from the agreement.

On December 14, 2016, Cummings, DeFazio, Connolly and Carson sent a follow-up letter to GSA after staff received a briefing from the Deputy Commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service. They wrote: “Most importantly, the Deputy Commissioner informed our staff that GSA assesses that Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017, unless he fully divests himself of all financial interests in the lease for the Washington D.C. hotel. The Deputy Commissioner made clear that Mr. Trump must divest himself not only of managerial control, but of all ownership interest as well.” https://medium.com/oversightdems/gsa-decision-on-trump-hotel-lease-35eeec449c1d

Not only is Trump in apparent violation of the Old Post Office lease but the US General Services Administration refuses to give information to (Senior) Democratic (i.e. “Ranking”) Members of the US Congress: “At a March 31, 2017 briefing, GSA informed Committee staff that the policy regarding providing information to Congress changed on January 20. GSA stated that it will respond to requests by Ranking Members on a discretionary basis only, and that GSA no longer considered an inquiry from a Committee Ranking Member to require a responseGSA continued to refuse to provide the monthly reports required by the lease agreement, making it impossible to understand the financial health of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office, whether there are Foreign Emoluments clause violations, whether the Trump Old Post Office, LLC is meeting its financial goals, and whether GSA is receiving its share of profits pursuant to the Old Post Office lease agreement… GSA’s mission to provide billions of dollars in real estate services for Federal agencies carries with it the obligation to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best value possible in every lease agreement. This mandate requires your agency to disclose information about its policies and the decisions it makes to us, the elected representatives of the American people.” (US Congressmen DeFazio and Johnson.)

On June 6, 2017, US Senator Carper wrote:
Jun 06 2017
Carper Continues to Demand Substantive Answers from GSA on Conflicts of Interest in Trump Hotel Lease
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a letter to the Acting Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), Timothy Horne, reiterating past requests for information on GSA’s determination that the Trump Old Post Office, LLC (Trump OPO) is in compliance with the conflict of interest lease provisions for the Trump International Hotel.

This information request, Carper’s fifth such formal request for information from GSA, also raises additional questions following the independent report released last month by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) that concluded, “GSA’s Contracting Officer failed to provide a sufficient legal or rational basis for why Trump OPO is not violating the Lease, and GSA acted improperly when it failed to exercise its rights to terminate the Lease or take other appropriate legal action against Trump [Old Post Office, LLC].”

In his letter, Senator Carper noted that his review of the GSA determination led him to conclude that it “appears to lack rigor and transparency.” He also observed that “Over the past five months, I have tried repeatedly to obtain information about whether President Trump, who has not fully divested himself of his Trump family business interests including assets related to Trump OPO, is in compliance with this Trump OPO lease provision. I sent oversight letters to GSA on this matter on December 1, 2016, January 13, 2017, and January 31, 2017,” but noted that GSA’s response to these efforts was “unresponsive,” stating that “Rather than focusing on my questions surrounding Trump OPO lease compliance, more than 90 percent of the nearly 5,000 pages of emails and documents provided by GSA relate to unrelated issues such as:  the permissible signage at Trump Hotel, the location of a Starbucks inside the Hotel, and the testing of Hotel fire alarms.”

Senator Carper’s new request reiterates his outstanding requests for information and documentation regarding GSA’s determination that Trump OPO was in compliance with the GSA lease, and questions what specific steps that GSA is taking to address the issues raised by CREW, such as whether GSA can guarantee that the President’s financial arrangements ensure that he does not violate the Lease terms by financially benefiting from Trump Hotel, such as through the withdrawal of funds from his Trust that came from Trump Hotel or through the Hotel’s procurement of food and wine from other Trump family businesses.
The text of the letter to Acting Administrator Horne can be found in pdf form here.

https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/92b26305-56a3-4157-93c9-d98dc46f866b/06.06.17-carper-letter-to-gsa-re-trump-hotel.pdf

TOP DEMOCRATS BLAST GSA FOR IGNORING OVERSIGHT REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION ON THE TRUMP OLD POST OFFICE LEASE Jun 13, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Hank Johnson (D-GA) sent a letter to the Acting Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Tim Horne, blasting the agency for failing to respond to repeated requests for information related to the Old Post Office lease agreement between GSA and the Trump Organization.

“Under the Trump administration, GSA has been nonresponsive to our written inquiries. We regard this as an abdication of your responsibility to run an open and transparent independent agency on behalf of the American people. GSA’s mission to provide billions of dollars in real estate services for Federal agencies carries with it the obligation to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best value possible in every lease agreement. This mandate requires your agency to disclose information about its policies and the decisions it makes to us, the elected representatives of the American people. We strongly urge you to respond to our previous letters by June 19, 2017, and provide the information we require so that our Committee can fulfill its constitutional duty to conduct oversight of GSA,” they write.

GSA has failed to provide any information requested by the Democrats, including copies of any notices sent to Trump Old Post Office, LLC concerning the breach of lease or notices sent in response to the public reports of construction liens filed against the Old Post Office building. In addition, Democrats have requested unredacted monthly reports of both the revenues and expenses for the Trump International Hotel and any correspondence that GSA had with Trump Old Post Office, LLC or the Trump transition team regarding the Trump International Hotel. GSA has failed to provide these documents.

At a March 31, 2017 briefing, GSA informed Committee staff that the policy regarding providing information to Congress changed on January 20. GSA stated that it will respond to requests by Ranking Members on a discretionary basis only, and that GSA no longer considered an inquiry from a Committee Ranking Member to require a response.

On April 6, 2017, together with Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Carper and Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Cardin, DeFazio and Johnson wrote to Acting Administrator Horne demanding an explanation of why information requested by the Ranking Members has not been provided by GSA. The letter requested an explanation for this partisan change in policy, which officials provided this guidance, and whether the White House or any other Federal agency provided instruction on this matter. They have not yet received an answer to this inquiry.

A full copy of the letter is below.
 
June 13, 2017
Mr. Timothy Horne
Acting Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
1800 F Street, NW
Washington, DC  20405
 
Dear Acting Administrator Horne:
As Ranking Members of the House Committee and Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the General Services Administration (GSA) Public Building Service, we have repeatedly written to you seeking information essential to our constitutional oversight duties. You have failed to respond substantively to multiple requests for information.  Your failure to respond is unacceptable.

On January 23, 2017, Ranking Member DeFazio, together with Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Cummings, wrote to you asking you to re-evaluate the Old Post Office lease agreement between GSA and the Trump Old Post Office, LLC. Specifically, we requested that you evaluate the Old Post Office lease agreement in light of the announcement by President-elect Donald Trump on January 11 that he was refusing to divest his ownership interests in the Trump Old Post Office, LLC; and that on January 20, 2017, he took the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States, creating the untenable position of being both landlord and tenant of the Old Post Office building.

In that same letter, we also asked you to explain the steps that GSA had taken or planned to take to address President Trump’s apparent breach of the Old Post Office lease agreement provision barring any elected official from being a lessee, or deriving any benefit from the lease. We asked GSA for copies of any notices sent to Trump Old Post Office, LLC concerning the breach of lease or notices sent in response to the public reports of construction liens filed against the Old Post Office building. In addition, we requested unredacted monthly reports of both the revenues and expenses for the Trump International Hotel and any correspondence that GSA had with Trump Old Post Office, LLC or the Trump transition team regarding the Trump International Hotel.

In a response letter of February 6, 2017, your then-Acting Associate Administrator declined to provide any of the substantive information that we requested. He explicitly stated that GSA would not provide the unredacted revenue and expense reports. Further, he stated that GSA was “monitoring” the issue of mechanics’ liens against the Hotel, but provided no other information. Finally, he provided copies of two letters from GSA to Trump Old Post Office, LLC, yet the text of these letters clearly indicates there exists additional material responsive to our request that was not provided.

On March 23, 2017, the GSA contracting officer for the Old Post Office lease agreement wrote to Donald Trump, Jr., that the Trump Old Post Office, LLC was in full compliance with the lease (the aforementioned deficiencies notwithstanding). Given the intense Congressional interest in this matter, GSA held an in-person briefing that provided answers to some of our questions, though most of our inquiries were not addressed. Specifically, GSA continued to refuse to provide the monthly reports required by the lease agreement, making it impossible to understand the financial health of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office, whether there are Foreign Emoluments clause violations, whether the Trump Old Post Office, LLC is meeting its financial goals, and whether GSA is receiving its share of profits pursuant to the Old Post Office lease agreement.

Of note, at that briefing, the Deputy Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service stated that on January 20, 2017, GSA policy regarding providing information to Congress changed. He stated that GSA will respond to requests by Ranking Members on a discretionary basis only, and that GSA no longer considered an inquiry from a Committee Ranking Member to require a response.

On April 6, 2017, together with Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Carper and Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Cardin of the Senate, we wrote to you demanding an explanation of why information requested by Ranking Members has not been provided by GSA. The letter requested an explanation for this partisan change in policy, which officials provided this guidance, and whether the White House or any other federal agency provided instruction on this matter. We have not yet received an answer to this inquiry.

Under the Trump administration, GSA has been nonresponsive to our written inquiries.

We regard this as an abdication of your responsibility to run an open and transparent independent agency on behalf of the American people. GSA’s mission to provide billions of dollars in real estate services for Federal agencies carries with it the obligation to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best value possible in every lease agreement. This mandate requires your agency to disclose information about its policies and the decisions it makes to us, the elected representatives of the American people.

We strongly urge you to respond to our previous letters by June 19, 2017, and provide the information we require so that our Committee can fulfill its constitutional duty to conduct oversight of GSA.

Sincerely,
 
PETER DeFAZIO                                         HANK JOHNSON                
Ranking Member                                             Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
 
cc:        The Honorable Bill Shuster
            Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
            The Honorable Lou Barletta
Chairman, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management

 http://democrats.transportation.house.gov/news/press-releases/top-democrats-blast-gsa-ignoring-oversight-requests-information-trump-old-post

EMPHASIS OUR OWN THROUGHOUT BLOG POST.

About the photo:
* Title: Architectural details at Old Post Office Building located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
* Creator(s): Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
* Date Created/Published: 2012 January.
* Medium: 1 photograph : digital, tiff file, color.
* Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-highsm-25088 (original digital file)
* Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
* Call Number: LC-DIG-highsm- 25088 (ONLINE) [P&P]
* Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
* Notes:
* Also known as Old Post Office and Clock Tower and officially renamed the Nancy Hanks Center in 1983.
* Photographed as part of an assignment for the General Services Administration.
* Title, date and keywords from information provided by the photographer.
* Credit line: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
* Gift; Carol M. Highsmith; 2009; (DLC/PP-2009:083).
* Forms part of: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
* Subjects:
* United States–District of Columbia–Washington (D.C.)
* Old Post offices.
* Old Post Office Pavilion.
* GSA.
* Pennsylvania Avenue.
* Format:
* Digital photographs–Color–2010-2020.
* Collections:
* Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive
* Part of: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946- Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
* Bookmark This Record: 
   http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2013634615/

More pictures here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=old%20post%20office&sg=true