Government 'ignored the Constitution' when they let Trump have a hotel on federal property: inspector general
Donald Trump (center) stands between his daughter Tiffany (left) and wife Melania (right) at the opening for Trump International Hotel in DC. Image via screengrab.

The General Services Administration was aware that renting a federal property to Donald Trump may violate the Constitution -- but did so anyway.


MarketWatch reported Wednesday that the inspector general for the GSA -- the government agency that rented the Old Post Office Building to Trump for his DC hotel -- ruled that the agency knowingly ignored the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.

The IG noted in a statement that the lease for the Trump International Hotel "raised issues under the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses that might cause a breach of the lease; however, GSA decided not to address those issues."

MarketWatch noted that the GSA itself argued that "the decision not to address or consider the Emoluments Clauses occurred before the Trump administration was in office or while career officials and not political appointees were in charge."

In turn, the agency said it will "adjust [the] language of the building lease," the report noted.

USA Today's Brad Heath noted on Twitter that the IG ruled that the GSA officials made the decision to lease the Old Post Office Building to Trump "without conducting any research" into the Emoluments Clause.

The IG report added: "If 'emoluments' include an official's gain from private business activities, the President's interest in the lease [of his hotel] raises at least potential constitutional issues."

Heath added that by mid-December 2016, "senior GSA attorneys 'agreed that there was a possible violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause but decided not to address the issue' posed by the president's ownership of his DC hotel."

Those attorneys told the IG that they "ignored the emoluments issues and that constitutional issues rarely

arise within GSA’s work," and that the Emoluments Clause "is not in GSA's purview."