Press Statement: The Executive Branch Cannot and Should Not Stonewall Congressional Oversight

Today, Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (HOGR) are filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration for refusing to turn over documents requested relevant to that Committee’s oversight. Those Members, who are all Democrats in the Committee’s minority, are filing their lawsuit on the basis of the “Seven Member Rule,” which is unique to their Congressional Committee. The statute that includes the “Seven Member Rule” requires agencies to produce any documents requested by seven members of HOGR.

They are demanding that the General Services Administration (GSA) comply with their requests for documents related to the Trump International Hotel lease. The GSA is the federal agency leasing the Old Post Office building in Washington, DC, to the Trump Organization.

This action is in response to repeated attempts to obtain these documents by Committee Members, despite the agency’s previous compliance with requests. GSA has previously pledged to release these documents to the Committee if it received a request under the Seven Member Rule.

POGO’s Executive Director, Danielle Brian, stated:

“The oversight functions of Congress are constitutionally mandated. While this certainly isn’t the first time that any Executive Branch has stonewalled Congress, it remains repugnant to the functioning of our government. Refusing to recognize the rights of minority Members of Congress to conduct oversight is a dangerous precedent, and Members on both sides of the aisle have rightfully spoken against similar refusals. We urge GSA to swiftly produce the documents the Members requested.”

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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