GSA's reply to Transportation chair's subpoena 'falls short'

Committee will continue ‘to engage with GSA’ in an attempt to see profit statements and communication involving Trump’s D.C. hotel

The General Service Administration’s late response to House Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio’s (D–OR) subpoena for financial statements on the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease “unfortunately falls short,” a source with knowledge of the situation told 1100 Pennsylvania.

At the advice of House counsel, this person said the committee is “continuing to engage with GSA to see if a reasonable accommodation can be made to ensure the committee gets the information it is seeking.”

GSA’s noncompliance with the subpoena follows the trend of the Trump administration refusing to cooperate with House investigations involving the president’s finances.

DeFazio subpoenaed GSA after the agency didn’t comply with multiple requests from him and Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Chair Dina Titus (D–NV) seeking profit statements, communication, and legal memos regarding the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease. (GSA supervises the Trump Organization’s lease of the Old Post Office building from the U.S. government; that Transportation subcommittee oversees GSA.)

In addition to a monthly rent of $250,000, the lease calls for the Trump Hotel D.C. to pay GSA a cut of its gross revenues if it reaches certain performance thresholds. In a contentious hearing in September, GSA’s public buildings commissioner Daniel Mathews, a political appointee of Trump’s, testified that the hotel did not pay GSA any funds beyond its base rent last year. The president, however, reported more than $40 million in revenue from the hotel in 2018 (he didn’t share his profit).

GSA did not meet the subpoena’s Nov. 4 deadline, but said it would provide information to DeFazio by Nov. 11.

“Once again the Trump Administration is defying the law and stonewalling Congress in its Constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive branch,” DeFazio said to 1100 Pennsylvania after his initial cutoff date was missed.

Late last week, DeFazio and Titus introduced a bill that would require GSA to conduct audits of federal properties that have been leased to private parties. Right now, the Trump Hotel D.C.’s financial statements are only audited by a firm chosen by the Trump Organization


Appeals court ruled Congress can subpoena Trump’s tax records; judges largely sided with party of the president who appointed them (again)

On Wednesday the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied Trump’s request for the entire circuit to review an earlier ruling that allowed the House Oversight Committee to subpoena the president’s tax records.

In a statement, Trump attorney Jay Seklow said they’d be asking the Supreme Court to review the case.

Judges in the 8–3 decision largely voted along the lines of the parties of the president’s who appointed them:

  • all seven Democrat-appointed jurists sided with the House Oversight Committee, as did one GOP-appointed judge

  • all three of the dissenting judges were Republican appointees (two of whom got the nod from the plaintiff in this case)

The split follows the trend in the emoluments, unfair competition, and House investigation lawsuits, according to 1100 Pennsylvania’s analysis. Only twice have judges appointed by GOP presidents ruled against President Trump in signed decisions. Meanwhile, decisions from jurists appointed by Democratic presidents largely have gone against Trump, with a few notable exceptions.


Hotel sales pitch: Trumps have turned away $9 million by refusing to seek foreign government business (which they are still getting)

From “Exclusive: Trump D.C. hotel sales pitch boasts of millions to be made from foreign governments” by Kara Scannell and Gloria Borger for CNN:

The hotel’s biggest selling point though, according to a copy of the brochure seen by CNN, is the one thing that the Trump family insists it didn't take advantage of: profiting off foreign governments.

“Tremendous upside potential exists for a new owner to fully capitalize on government related business upon rebranding of the asset,” reads the 46-page investor pitch.

The Trump Organization insists that its refusal to solicit foreign business has cost it more than $9 million. According to the brochure, those “sacrifices” include turning away 17,100 room nights in 2019, resulting in $5.3 million in lost room revenue and $3.9 million in lost food and beverage revenue.

It’s not clear how the Trump Org calculated those lost opportunities. While the Trumps claim to not be pursuing foreign business, they are still landing it. Per 1100 Pennsylvania’s analysis, representatives from at least 29 foreign governments have visited the Trump Hotel D.C. since its owner was elected president.

The hotel, of course, employed a “director of transient and diplomatic sales” through April 2018, according to that employee’s LinkedIn profile. And while the title on Heidi Kirby social media profile has changed (but only after a tweet pointing out that said position was inconsistent with organization’s official position got traction), Kirby still appears to be employed at the hotel.

Over the past two years, the Trump Org has donated more than $340,000 to the U.S. Treasury, which it claims represents its profits from foreign governments. But that figure isn’t independently audited and requires officials to identify their positions to hotel staff.

According to CNN, the brochure did not specify how much the hotel had made from foreign government businesses or the financial data the House Transportation Committee is seeking.


Notable sightings

A glimpse of the foreign officials, government employees, politicians, lobbyists, and the like who patronize or appear at Trump businesses. Most people shown here have reasons to want to influence the Trump administration, rely on its good graces for their livelihoods, or should be providing oversight. Additionally, high-profile guests serve as draws for paying customers.

The book signing for Trump Org EVP Donald Trump Jr. was at the Trump Hotel D.C. Tuesday night, bringing a wealth of customers to purchase food, drinks, and the political musings of a man who shares the president’s name and business interests but is walled off from the administration. In addition to the author and his girlfriend, Trump campaign staffer Kimberly Guilfoyle, notable guests spotted that evening at the president’s D.C. hotel include Sen. Tim Scott (R–SC); GOP operative Arthur Schwartz; Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) deputy chief of staff Sergio Gor; GOP strategist and former White House staffer Andrew Surabian; and senior advisor for the Trump campaign Katrina Pierson. Politico Playbook also reported seeing Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, and a new White House aide hired to assist in anti-impeachment efforts, Tony Sayegh.


Other Trump Organization news


Reference section

Links to rundowns of developments in the House’s investigations and lawsuits, reference sheets for some of 1100 Pennsylvania’s previous reporting, and articles that provide the background on why all of this matters. The date published or last updated is in parentheses.

Trackers

Notable hotel customers

Summaries

Upcoming key dates

  • Sept. 23 —House Judiciary Committee hearing “Presidential corruption: Emoluments and profiting off the presidency” (postponed, not yet rescheduled)

  • Nov. 4—House Transportation Committee chair’s subpoena deadline seeking documents related to hotel’s lease (response came a week late and was deemed insufficient)

  • Nov. 22—Oral arguments before D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cork wine bar’s unfair competition suit

  • Dec. 7—D.C. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #1’s holiday party at the Trump Hotel D.C.

  • Dec. 9—Oral arguments before D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Democratic lawmakers emoluments suit

  • Dec. 12—Oral arguments before full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. and Maryland attorneys general’s emoluments suit

  • Jan. 23—Status hearing with D.C. Superior Court in former hotel employees hearing alleging racial discrimination


Thanks for reading! If you like what you’ve read, tell someone. If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe at 1100pennsylvania.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ. Tips or feedback? Contact Zach Everson at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com (it’ll be encrypted if you also use a ProtonMail account, which is free) or via Signal (secure), SMS, or mobile at 202.804.2744.

Four GOP House Intelligence members have boosted Trump's D.C. hotel

44 percent of Republicans on a key committee in the impeachment inquiry have supported the Trump Hotel D.C.

The Trump Hotel D.C. has been a subject of questioning during the House’s impeachment inquiry. A lawyer for the House Intelligence Committee’s Democrats asked former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker why a top official from that country stayed at the Trump Hotel D.C. The attorney also asked Volker why that venue was picked for his meeting with Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas

The questions could be evidence that the impeachment inquiry will look at whether or not the president is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, one of which bars officeholders from receiving payments from foreign governments. Some Democratic lawmakers previously have claimed the president’s business interests do in fact break the law.

But while Democrats on that panel are inquiring about the Trump Hotel D.C., at least four of the nine Republicans on the committee have helped the president profit from his Pennsylvania Avenue business (the list on the committee’s website does not reflect Rep. Jim Jordan (R–OH) temporarily replacing Rep. Rick Crawford (R–AR)).

These four lawmakers have spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds at the venue, served as featured guests for paying customers, and taken official actions in Congress on behalf of the president’s D.C. business.

That 1100 Pennsylvania wasn’t able to find proof of the remaining five Intelligence Committee members having visited the Trump Hotel D.C. doesn’t mean they haven’t been there, of course (well, the Republicans anyway). A list of those officials appears at the end of this section. If you have evidence they’ve called on the president’s D.C. hotel, please contact 1100 Pennsylvania via 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com (it’ll be encrypted if you also use a ProtonMail account, which is free) or Signal (secure), SMS, or mobile at 202.804.2744.

Here’s a rundown of how these four House Intelligence Committee members have helped the U.S. president profit.

Ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R–CA) attended a breakfast with Michael Flynn and dozens of foreign government officials at the hotel two days before Trump’s inauguration (which the Mueller probe scrutinized), The Daily Beast reported. Nunes dined with the president and other congressmen at the hotel’s steakhouse in October 2019. And sometime before mid-August 2019 Nunes also posed with one of the president’s customers in the lobby.

Rep. Will Hurd (R–TX) joined the Lincoln Club of Ocean City, California when it rented out the hotel’s Franklin Study in October 2019.

Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R–OH) campaign has reported spending $22,459.68 at the Trump Hotel D.C. Jordan held a fundraiser there earlier in June, criticized a General Services Administration inspector general’s report that questioned the agency’s handling of the hotel’s lease, let Capital One know he was concerned about his colleagues’ request for Trump Organization financial documents, came to the hotel’s defense during an Oversight Committee hearing on D.C. statehood, and has been seen at the hotel on other occasions. (Also, a PAC paid Trump Hotel Chicago almost $4,000 to host a lunch Jordan headlined.)

Rep. Michael Turner’s (R–OH) campaign has spent $1,942.30 at the hotel across seven different dates in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Haven’t reported spending campaign funds or been spotted at the Trump Hotel D.C.

  • Mike Conaway (R–TX)

  • John Ratcliffe (R–TX) (although his chief of staff and director of public policy have been spotted there)

  • Elise Stefanik (R–NY)

  • Chris Stewart (R–UT)

  • Brad Wenstrup (R–OH)


Complete access to 1100 Pennsylvania now free for U.S. government employees and military

Full access to 1100 Pennsylvania is now free for U.S. government employees and members of the military. If you signed up using a .gov or .mil email address, your subscription already has been upgraded. If you signed up via a personal email account, please get in touch: 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com.


Notable sightings

A glimpse of the foreign officials, government employees, politicians, lobbyists, and the like who patronize or appear at Trump businesses. Most people shown here have reasons to want to influence the Trump administration, rely on its good graces for their livelihoods, or should be providing oversight. Additionally, high-profile guests serve as draws for paying customers.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC) spoke to paying customers of the head of the executive branch last night at the American Spectator’s annual gala. Graham has made more visits to Trump properties than any other member of Congress, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics and Washington.

Liberal super PAC American Bridge has video it says shows Sen. Thom Tillis (R–NC) entering the Trump Hotel D.C. last night. Tillis was there for the Save the Senate retreat and reportedly enjoyed an awkward exchange with the president

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel also spoke to the president’s customers at the American Spectator event.

Alaska State Senator David Wilson (R) let his Facebook friends know he had a good cup of coffee at the U.S. president’s D.C. hotel. [H/T The Alaska Landmine]

Right wing radio host Todd Starnes, whom Fox News ousted after he suggested Democrats worship the pagan god moloch, had a great night with dear friends.

Remove Trump claimed its protest last night forced the president to enter his D.C. hotel via a back door. Meanwhile Gateway Pundit contributor Jacob Engels cclaimed a woman assaulted him.

Reportedly, in town to attend a Q&A about Christianity and the gospel at the U.S. Supreme Court with a sitting justice, Lisa “J” Johnson shared a video from a room at the Trump Hotel D.C. (Because of a formatting constraint, select the link to watch her video.)


Other Trump Organization news

  • President Trump commented on a New York judge ordering him to pay $2 million in damages for musing funds from the now-shuttered Trump Foundation. (Trump also agreed to submit to monitoring of any potential charitable endeavors.) Executive summary: He was not happy.


Reference section

Links to rundowns of developments in the House’s investigations and lawsuits, reference sheets for some of 1100 Pennsylvania’s previous reporting, and articles that provide the background on why all of this matters. The date published or last updated is in parentheses.

Trackers

Notable hotel customers

Summaries

Upcoming key dates

  • Sept. 23 —House Judiciary Committee hearing “Presidential corruption: Emoluments and profiting off the presidency” (postponed, not yet rescheduled)

  • Nov. 7–8—President Trump and nine GOP senators attend Save the Senate retreat at the Trump Hotel D.C.

  • Nov. 11—GSA’s promised (past due) reply to the House Transportation Committee chair’s subpoena seeking documents related to hotel’s lease

  • Nov. 12—Donald Trump Jr.’s book signing at the Trump Hotel D.C.

  • Nov. 22—Oral arguments before D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cork wine bar’s unfair competition suit

  • Dec. 7—D.C. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #1’s holiday party at the Trump Hotel D.C.

  • Dec. 9—Oral arguments before D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Democratic lawmakers emoluments suit

  • Dec. 12—Oral arguments before full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. and Maryland attorneys general’s emoluments suit

  • Jan. 23—Status hearing with D.C. Superior Court in former hotel employees hearing alleging racial discrimination


Thanks for reading! If you like what you’ve read, tell someone. If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe at 1100pennsylvania.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ. Tips or feedback? Contact Zach Everson at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com (it’ll be encrypted if you also use a ProtonMail account, which is free) or via Signal (secure), SMS, or mobile at 202.804.2744.

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