The lasting effects of a previous Democratic-led initiative to acquire financial records from the General Services Administration (GSA) persist concerning the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. Currently, the Supreme Court will examine and make a decision on this issue.
Situated just a few blocks away from the White House, this upscale hotel and conference center gained popularity among foreign dignitaries and influential Republicans throughout the Trump administration.
The Old Post Office Pavilion, a historic building constructed in 1899, is owned by the federal government. In 2013, it was leased to a group led by Trump through a revocable trust for a duration of 60 years. DJT Holdings LLC, under this lease, transformed the building into a high-end hotel, which operated from September 2016 to May 2022. Eventually, the lease was sold to DBI Merchant Group.
In November 2017, a coalition of 17 Democratic representatives from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform initiated legal action to compel the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide documents. This action was taken in relation to the committee’s examination of potential conflicts of interest arising from Donald Trump serving as President of the United States while also being the owner of the hotel.
To obtain the requested materials, the lawmakers utilized a somewhat outdated law commonly referred to as the Seven Member Rule or Five Member Rule (5 USC. § 2954). This statute permits any group of seven members from House oversight committees or five members from the Senate to legally require executive branch offices to disclose information.
The lawsuit was dismissed by the US District Court for the District of Columbia in August 2018, with the court ruling that the individual members of Congress who brought the action lacked the legal standing to do so. However, in December 2020, a three-judge panel from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The lawmakers then requested a rehearing by the full panel in April 2021, but their request was denied by the DC Circuit in August 2022.
In November 2022, the Department of Justice, representing the General Services Administration (GSA), filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court. The lawyers representing the lawmakers who remained as respondents submitted a brief in opposition to the petition in February 2023. Finally, on May 15, 2023, the Supreme Court granted certiorari, agreeing to review the case.