Yesterday the General Services Administration (GSA) published a letter addressed to President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., asserting that Trump Organization is in "full compliance" of their lease of the Washington D.C. Old Post Office building, which now houses the Trump International Hotel. This comes after months of speculation and criticism of the GSA and President Trump for a potential breach of the original 60-year lease contract which stipulated: "No elected official of the Government of the United State or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this lease, or any benefit that may arise therefrom."

As outlined in the letter, GSA contracting officer Kevin Terry finds that the lease is "valid and in full force and effect" thanks to changes to the organizational structure and other internal operating agreements instituted by the Trump Organization. These measures include: "the President will not receive any distributions...generated from the hotel;" "funds will remain in Trump Old Post Office LLC instead of being distributed to DJT Holdings LLC"; and "funds generated by the hotel will not flow to the President through DJT Holdings LLC."

The 166-page document, including months of correspondence between the GSA and the Trump Organization, provides a timeline of communication and legal updates to the lease specific to President Trump's original bid, as well as his tenancy approval by Congress in 2013 and his eventual election to public office in November. According to the letter, the hotel had already generated approximately $5.1 million for the government prior to its official opening in the fall.

Since this announcement, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) released the following statement criticizing the GSA and warning against the precedent this ruling establishes:

GSA changed the position it held before President Trump took office. This new interpretation renders this lease provision completely meaningless—any elected official can now defy the restriction by following this blueprint. The letter provides a completely inadequate explanation for its decision and instead footnotes news articles and recites the complex structure of trusts and limited liability corporations through which President Trump and his family own the hotel. This decision allows profits to be reinvested back into the hotel so Donald Trump can reap the financial benefits when he leaves the White House. This is exactly what the [original] lease provision was supposed to prevent.