The Old Post Office Tower is in a unique position as a government operated site within the President Trump’s eponymous DC hotel. It is also in a unique position in that it reopened during the government shutdown, raising serious questions about conflicts of interest.
On December 22, 2018, Congress failed to fund agencies whose appropriations were set to expire, including the Interior Department, which includes the National Park Service. As a result of loss of funding, access to the tower was closed by the Park Service.
The General Services Administration, which leases the Old Post Office Building to the Trump Organization, announced on January 2, 2019, that it would fund reopening of the tower during the shutdown. A GSA spokesperson described the funds for the reopened tower as “not associated with the current fiscal year’s (FY 2019) appropriations bill.” However, it was then revealed that the GSA was using the Federal Buildings Fund to cover the costs of reopening the tower. That funding is “primarily supported by rent paid to GSA from other federal entities.”
CREW requested all documents explaining the transfer of money to the Federal Buildings Fund to pay for opening the Old Post Office Tower, records about why the same was not done with other sites, and any restrictions on those funds.
The requested records will shed light on why the Federal Buildings Fund was used to open the Old Post Office tower, while other public buildings remained closed and national parks were operating in unsafe conditions during the shutdown.