BRUSHED ASIDE

IG: Lawyers ‘Ignored’ Constitution When Allowing Trump to Lease Old Post Office

The Inspector General of the General Services Administration found that Office of General Counsel lawyers “ignored” the Constitution when allowing President Trump to keep his lease of the Old Post Office Building in D.C. for his hotel, according to a report released Wednesday. “The attorneys decided to ignore the emoluments issues,” the report said. “They told us that the agency generally does not deal with constitutional issues (other than issues involving land condemnation or GSA officials), and consequently, the Constitution’s emoluments issues were not in GSA’s purview.” Trump got the keys to the Old Post Office in 2014, but the issue of the Emoluments Clause—which prohibits the president from receiving a fee or profit from “Kings, Princes, and foreign states”—was not discussed among OGC lawyers until the 2016 election, when the news media began questioning the constitutionality of Trump’s lease. Lawyers reportedly told the IG’s office that emoluments issues rarely came up in the work of the GSA, and concluded it was not the GSA’s responsibility “to evaluate.” This comes after a number of foreign states have spent money at the Trump International Hotel since Trump took office.