November 23, 2016

Warren and Cummings Ask GAO to Review "Chaotic" Trump Transition

Letter Raises Concerns About Trump Business Ties, Use of Public Funds, National Securit

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, DC -United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, today sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a review of President-elect Donald Trump's "chaotic" transition. The lawmakers asked GAO to examine conflicts of interest related to business holdings of Mr. Trump and his family, potential violations of protocol and national security concerns related to Mr. Trump's communications with foreign leaders, and transparency related to the use of taxpayer funds in the transition. 

Citing reports of "disarray" within a "chaotic" transition, Cummings and Warren raised concern about several aspects of the transition. They noted that despite Mr. Trump's claims that he will set up a "blind trust" to manage his business interests, "To date, there has been no information released to the public indicating that Mr. Trump has prepared a blind trust."  There have been several reports indicating that Mr. Trump or his family have not drawn a clear line between his Presidency and his company. "At this point, it is not clear if the line between Mr. Trump's Presidency and his and business ventures is blurred-or entirely nonexistent," they wrote.

Cummings and Warren also asked GAO to assess potential national security concerns associated with Trump's communications with foreign leaders, following reports that the President-elect has held conversations with foreign officials on his personal cell phone and has held diplomatic meetings with no State Department briefings. 

Noting that $9.5 million in federal funding has been allocated to the GSA to support the transition - in addition to other costs borne by taxpayers such as Secret Service protection - Warren and Cummings wrote, "Mr. Trump's apparent conflicts of interest-and his behavior during the campaign and after his election-raise questions about the use of taxpayer funds during the transition, and about the decisions made during the transition that will affect federal government policies under the Trump Administration." The lawmakers requested that the GAO assess a series of questions about these issues.

Read a PDF copy of the letter here.