Since his broadly offensive and divisive foray into politics began, Donald Trump has seen many of his hotels and properties lose business. The key exception has been his recently opened Trump International Hotel, which is located near the White House in Washington, DC. Trump has routinely used his office to steer business to the hotel, which is booming. But now a federal investigation has been launched into the property.
In addition to everything else that’s corrupt about the Trump International Hotel, it’s being operated out of a property owned by the federal government. Donald Trump’s company has been leasing the building from the General Services Administration, which puts him in a position of having oversight over his own landlord. Now Bloomberg (link) is reporting that a major investigation is underway into the fiasco. This probe could help to significantly bolster multiple ongoing legal efforts that are underway to force Trump to separate himself from the hotel.
A group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is suing Donald Trump over his use of the Trump International Hotel in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The suit alleges that Trump is using his office to steer foreign governments to book rooms and events at his hotel, and that his resulting profits amount to illegal foreign gifts. CREW now has an upcoming court date over the matter.
The Attorneys General of Maryland and Washington, DC are also suing Donald Trump over the hotel, on behalf of the nearby hotels in their jurisdictions. That suit argues that Trump is committing unfair business practices against those competing hotels by using his office to steer business to his own hotel. This new investigation by the GAO and GSA into the nature of Trump’s government lease of the property can only serve to uncover additional details that can then be used by plaintiffs in the related lawsuits.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report