ABC News(NEW YORK) — Since returning to work after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, congressional Democrats have taken or requested at least nine separate actions seeking to address their concerns about the Trump transition.
It is traditional for members of the opposing party to request inquiries and information about the policies, and sometimes the personnel, of the White House, but the given the unique nature of Trump’s incoming presidency, the congressional requests themselves are unusual and noteworthy.
Most of them are from House Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, who has issued a request for information or an oversight hearing every weekday since Congress returned from its election recess on Nov. 14.
His requests have gone to parties unlikely to respond, including Vice President-elect Mike Pence and lawyers representing the Trump Foundation. But they are a way for him to contrast himself with Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, whom Cummings has accused of being “reluctant” to take any actions to investigate Trump.
A few members have requested information from government oversight groups, the Government Accountability Office and the Office of Government Ethics. Those may be more likely to see action as they are officially unbound by political considerations.
The requests are listed below in reverse chronological order:
11/23: Warren, Cummings Request GAO Investigation Into Transition
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and Rep. Elijah Cummings asked the Government Accountability Office to review what they describe as Trump’s “chaotic” transition and his failure to establish a blind trust or release information about it. They also want the GAO to investigate possible national security risks associated with Trump’s actions, including making calls to foreign leaders on his personal cell phone. They note that the GSA has $9.5 million in taxpayer funding to support the transition.
Where this request stands: In an email to ABC News, the GAO indicated its willingness to investigate this issue. “Per 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,” a GAO spokesperson said.
11/22: Cardin Announces He Will Introduce Resolution Urging Trump Not to Violate Constitution
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, and the current top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he will introduce a “sense of the Senate” next week that states that President-elect Trump should convert his assets to simple, conflict-free holdings, adopt blind trusts or take other equivalent measures in order to ensure compliance with the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
During the campaign, Trump said that he would turn his businesses over to his children, but suggested to the New York Times that liquidating his assets and putting the proceeds in a blind trust -– as some advisers have suggested — would not work.
“Selling real estate is much different, it’s in a much different world,” Trump told the Times. “I’d say this, and I mean this and I said it on ‘60 Minutes’ the other night: My company is so unimportant to me relative to what I’m doing, ’cause I don’t need money, I don’t need anything, and by the way, I’m very under-leveraged, I have a very small percentage of my money in debt.”
He also told the Times: “the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest…Despite that, I don’t want there to be a conflict of interest anyway.
Where this stands: It’s up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to decide whether or not to bring this to the floor for a vote. Responding to a request for comment, his office said, “We will let you know if the Leader issues a statement.”
11/22: Cummings Requests Documents Related to Trump Foundation ‘Self-Dealing’
Cummings sent a letter to the Trump Foundation’s lawyers requesting documents and information related to reports that accountants admitted in 2015 IRS filings that the foundation repeatedly violated the legal prohibition against using charitable funds to benefit its leaders, their family members or “disqualified individuals,” which is commonly known as “self-dealing.”
Where this stands: Cummings requested a response to this request by Dec. 6. The letter was addressed to Sheri Dillon, a partner at the firm Morgan Lewis. A spokesman for the firm said it’s not the firm’s policy to comment on client matters.
11/21: Carper Asks Federal Watchdog About Plans to Address Potential Conflicts of Interest
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics asking how it plans to address potential conflicts of interest in President-elect Trump’s administration.
Where this stands: Carper requested a response to his letter by Dec. 5. The OGE has not yet responded to a request for comment from ABC News.
11/18: Cummings Requests Documents Related to Mike Flynn’s Potential Conflicts of Interest
Cummings sent a letter to VP-elect Pence requesting information about retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn’s consulting firm, which is lobbying for companies with ties to the Turkish government.
Where this stands: Cummings requested a response to this request by Nov. 28. Pence did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
11/17: Cummings Requests Committee Hearing on Russia’s Alleged Role in 2016 Election
In a letter to Chaffetz, Cummings requested the committee conduct a bipartisan investigation into the extent of Russia’s alleged role in interfering with and influencing the 2016 election.
Where this stands: There was no deadline on this request, but during a TV interview on Monday, Cummings said Chaffetz has so far been “reluctant” to take any actions to investigate Trump or issues related to him.
11/16: Cummings Requests Information Regarding Kushner Security Clearance Request
Cummings sent a letter to VP-elect Pence requesting information regarding reports that Trump has requested security clearance for son-in-law Jared Kushner and access to the president’s daily briefing.
Where this stands: Cummings requested a response to this inquiry by Nov. 23. Pence did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
11/15: Cummings Requests Information Regarding Security Clearance Requests for Trump’s Children
Cummings sent a letter to Chief of Staff-designate Reince Priebus requesting information about press reports indicating Trump may seek to obtain security clearances for his children to obtain access to classified national security information.
Where this stands: Cummings requested a response by Nov. 23. Priebus did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
11/14: Cummings Requests Committee Review of Trump’s Financial Arrangements
Cummings sent a letter to Chaffetz asking that the House Oversight Committee begin conducting a review of Trump’s financial arrangements to ensure that he does not have any actual or perceived conflicts of interest and that he and his advisers comply with all legal and regulatory ethical requirements when he assumes the presidency.
Where this stands: There was no deadline on this request but Cummings said on Nov. 22 that Chaffetz has so far been “reluctant” to take any actions to investigate Trump or issues related to him.
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