Rep. Maloney Joins with Oversight Committee Democrats to File Federal Suit Against Trump Administration for Withholding Documents on Trump Hotel

Nov 2, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), senior member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, joined Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of committee, and other Democratic Committee Members in filing a federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration for withholding documents the Members have been seeking for months relating to the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Members filed the complaint in Federal District Court in Washington D.C. under a unique federal law known as the “Seven Member” statute.  This law is specific to the Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives and provides that a federal agency “shall” produce documents requested by any seven Members of the Committee.

“I’ve been on the Oversight Committee since I first came to Congress and know how important our oversight authority is. That’s what makes the Trump Administration’s disregard for the Seven Member Rule and our oversight authority and duties so disturbing. This is federal statute – specific to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee - and there should be no question whether it must be complied with. The rule has been in place since 1928 to ensure that our committee can carry out our duties no matter who is in the majority and who is in the White House. This is about checks and balances, not party politics. If GSA insists on stonewalling our legitimate requests for documents, we are determined to fight for them. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this pursuit of justice to make sure our committee can fulfill its duty to the American people. Given everything going on now under the Trump Administration, we need this law more than ever.”

Oversight Committee Democrats sent multiple letters over the past year to the General Services Administration (GSA) invoking the Seven Member statute seeking documents in three major areas:

  • whether the Office of the Presidency is being used for private gain;
  • the extent to which Trump Hotel is receiving payments from foreign governments or officials; and
  • the reason GSA reversed its previous legal interpretation of the lease, which explicitly prohibits any “elected official of the Government of the United States” from taking or sharing in any benefit that “may arise” from the lease.

During the Obama Administration, GSA explicitly recognized and complied with requests under the Seven Member statute and produced a wide range of unredacted documents relating to the Trump Hotel.  After Donald Trump was sworn in as President, however, GSA suddenly reversed its position and refused to comply with the law.

The Trump Hotel lost significant amounts of money in its first two months of operations—before the election—far underperforming the company’s own projections.  According to press reports, however, this changed after President Trump was sworn in.  As of August, the Trump Hotel turned a $1.97 million profit despite projecting that it would lose $2.1 million during the first four months of 2017. 

Chairman Trey Gowdy and other Republicans have refused to join Democrats in obtaining these documents.  Former Chairman Jason Chaffetz requested only a copy of the lease, but nothing further about its operation or enforcement.

Click here for a Fact Sheet with Key Documents, Letters, and Exhibits.

Click here to read the Complaint the Members filed today.