Federal Employees News Digest

GSA leader denies Trump had influence in FBI building plan

The House Appropriations Committee is continuing its investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to end efforts to move the FBI headquarters out of Washington, D.C., and into to the suburbs.

“Why would a nearly 10 year project agreed upon by both GSA and the FBI be abandoned for a significantly more expensive proposal that compromises the safety and security of FBI personnel?” Rep. Quigley (D-Ill.) asked during the March 13 House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing, chaired by Rep. Quigley.

Last October, a group of House Democrats claimed that President Trump halted plans to move the FBI headquarters —which is located across the street from Trump International Hotel — because of his own personal business interests.

The lawmakers allege that before he was elected, Trump had publicly supported relocating the building to a D.C. suburb, so that he then could purchase the land and redevelop it, but since he is now ineligible as a federal employee to obtain the property, another private developer could purchase the land instead of the president—and possibly be a direct competitor with his property.

At the March 13 hearing, Quigely raised issue with findings from the General Services Administration Inspector General regarding President Trump’s role in the FBI’s headquarters relocation plans and the resulting costly “raze and rebuild” at its existing location plan.

“This reversal caused many to question, and rightfully so, whether the President wanted to protect his financial interest in the Trump Hotel, particularly if another private developer could obtain the property and compete directly with the Trump Hotel,” he added.

They requested an investigation that includes the examining of nearly 2,500 documents and questioning of U.S. General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy.

Quigley claims Murphy’s sworn testimony answers to the subcommittee have been “incomplete” and “misleading.”

He also raised issue with the claim by Murphy in previous testimony said that she did not discuss the FBI headquarter plans with the president, but points to an official White House photo showing Murphy, Trump, and others discussing the proposal in the Oval Office on January 24, 2018.

She declined to answer questions that focused on pre-deliberative decisions or conversations, but denied that she was aware of any preferences Trump had about the building location.

Read his full testimony here. View the hearing here.

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Contributors

Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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