Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) have requested a formal review of President-elect Donald Trump’s “taxpayer-funded transition,” as well as potential conflicts of interest that could arise between Trump’s administration and the Trump Organisation.
In a letter sent to the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday, Warren and Cummings characterised Trump’s transition as “chaotic” and asked that the GAO review conflicts of interest related to Trump’s and his family’s relationship to his businesses, potential national security concerns related to Trump’s communication with foreign leaders and diplomats, and “transparency related to the use of taxpayer funds during the transition.”
A representative from the GAO confirmed that they had received the request and that the process of reviewing requests can take a few weeks. The representative appeared to hint that the GAO would look into the matter, saying that “[p]er our protocols, GAO places priorities on those requests from committee leaders of jurisdiction, including committee ranking members. As long as it’s within our authority, we accept it.”
Cummings is a ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The letter notes that the General Services Administration allocates $9.5 million in taxpayer dollars to a smooth transition of power, as well as a “faithful” execution of laws to ensure that Americans’ safety and security is not placed at risk. The letter goes on to say that Trump’s potential conflicts of interest and his “behaviour during the campaign and after his election” raise questions about using tax dollars to facilitate his transition.
Warren and Cummings cited articles that outline Trump’s “deep ties” to politicians in countries like China, Libya, Turkey, and potentially Ukraine and Russia, reports claiming that Trump hosted over 100 foreign diplomats in his Washington, D.C. hotel last week, and his unwillingness to set up a qualified blind trust within which to place his business holdings as evidence of possible issues.
The transition period ends on January 20, 2017, when Trump is inaugurated.
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