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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Trump's dirtiest deal

    In last week's trip to Washington, I happened to drive down Pennsylvania Avenue.  The optics of Individual 1's dirty deal are so obvious, I felt I had to write.  The FBI headquarters building occupies an entire city block on Pennsylvania Ave.  It is located between The White House and the Capitol.  It is about a block away from the Trump Hotel.  The land on which it sits may be the most valuable land in all of Washington.  The headquarters is a crumbling overcrowded mess.  It accommodates about 7,000 of the FBI's 11,000 employees.  The rest work in various buildings in D.C. and the suburbs.
          The FBI has been looking at plans to build a new headquarters in a D.C. suburb since 2011.  After receiving several proposal the Government Services Administration (GSA) settled on the best proposal.  The present building and land would be sold for hundreds of millions to a private developer.  The developer would demolish the headquarters and build a hotel and commercial complex on the site.  The developer would also build a new FBI headquarters in the suburbs.  The new building in the suburbs would accommodate all 11,000 employees.  Then Chump got elected.
       On January 24, three days after being sworn in, Individual 1 met with the administrator of the GSA.  This is bizarre by itself. Who ever heard of a brand new president making it a top priority to meet with the head of the GSA? In May the GSA announced it was abandoning the existing plan and announced a new plan to demolish the existing building and build a new building on the same site.   The head of the GSA testified before a Senate panel  in  April, 2017 . She claimed that the reason for the change of plans was because the FBI asked to stay in the old site.  The administrator did not disclose that she had met with individual 1.  Now that this information is public, she has refused to say what was discussed at the meeting.
        Please understand that the change of plans represents a huge financial benefit to individual 1 and a huge cost to taxpayers.  First, of course, he will not have a competitor directly across the street from his hotel.  Second, with the FBI building in place, presumably some additional business will be generated for his hotel.  By the way, the new plan will costs hundreds of millions of dollars more than the old plan.  The new building will still require about 3,000 employees  to work off campus.  And finally, the new plan will require FBI employees  to relocate twice.
         In late October, 2018 Elijah Cummings and four other representatives sent a letter to the GSA asking for a detailed account of what was said in the January 24 meeting.  As far as I know that letter has never been answered.  Guess what, now it will be.  Cummings will make this investigation a priority.  He is going to have the GSA administrator under oath.  It will not surprise me  if it is revealed that she lied the first time when she testified that the change of plans was at the request of the FBI.
        Ryan Zinke, made national news with his dirty deal involving land in Whitefish Montana.  Zinke's deal was small potatoes compared to this.  If Chump talked about the deal with the GSA administrator, he  and she clearly violated ethics rules.  I am not a  criminal lawyer, but it seems to me that there must have been violations of criminal law. 
         The GSA administrator is  Emily Murphy.  I assume she has never before been embroiled in any ethical controversy.  It is amazing how Chump dirties everyone he deals with who was not dirty before.  It is not easy to have a Chump deal called the dirtiest of all.  I think this qualifies.  Thanks for listening.
P.S.  It is sickening that the sociopath in chief has caused hundreds of thousands to go without pay.  He could not care less. His time is coming.

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