In a Tuesday press release, the House Oversight Committee revealed that it opened an investigation into former President Donald Trump for allegedly failing to account for gifts from foreign government officials while in office.
The panel will investigate claims pursuant to violations of the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act by Trump and possible violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
New York Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Democratic chairwoman of the committee, said that the supposed revelations “raise concerns about the potential for undue influence over former President Trump by foreign governments.”
“The Trump administration’s apparent failure to comply with federal records and ethics laws appears to have occurred well before 2020,” Maloney wrote in a letter.
“In addition to failing to report gifts as required, the Trump administration poorly managed and tracked foreign gifts it received,” she added.
The committee’s probe stems from a revelation by the State Department in April that the Trump administration left office without accounting for the gifts Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and other White House officials received from abroad that year, The New York Times reported.
“It’s flagrant, and it looks terrible,” Richard W. Painter, the former top ethics lawyer for George W. Bush’s administration, told the paper. “Either it was really stupid or really corrupt.”
Painter told The Times that the clause now targeted by the Oversight Committee has no criminal or civil penalties, and is thus challenging to enforce. This reason could be why the panel is also searching for Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act violations.
Maloney said her committee requests all documents and communications related to the gifts received by Trump or his family members and all communications between the National Archives and Records Administration and the administration.
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