Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Questions Witnesses about the Trump International Hotel

September 25, 2019
Press Release
Says lease with the GSA is a serious conflict of interest

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, questioned witnesses at a hearing today about the Trump Administration’s oversight of the Trump Organization’s lease of the Old Post Office. The Inspector General of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) admitted that the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution was not considered when the lease was evaluated following the election of Donald Trump. 

Witnesses included representatives from the GSA, the GSA Office of the Inspector General, the Congressional Research Service, the Project on Government Oversight, and Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington. See the Congressman’s first and second rounds of questioning here and here.

After the hearing Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“The President’s refusal to divest from his privately-owned businesses creates a conflict of interest, especially when his business leases property from agencies within the Executive Branch. It continues to raise serious questions about his compliance with the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the President from receiving federal funds in excess of his official salary. It also could violate the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, which is a vital protection against foreign governments’ corrupting influence. The American people should have total confidence that the President is serving their interest, not his own financial enrichment. As the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, I will continue to hold this President accountable to the Constitution and to the American people.”