Law Professor: Trump Must Relinquish Lease on DC Hotel

Donald Trump must give up his 60-year lease on the Trump Hotel near the White House in D.C., says a law professor who studied the terms of the lease.  The building is owned by the federal government and was known as the Old Post Office Building; it was home to federal agencies, such as the Nation Endowment for the Humanities. After it was closed, Trump leased it and turned it into a luxury hotel.

 

The lease specifically says that no federal official may benefit from the proceeds generated by the building.

 

NPR reports:

 

“After Donald Trump is sworn in as president on Jan. 20, he will follow a time-honored tradition and make his way from the U.S. Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Along the way, just a few blocks before he reaches the White House, he’ll pass the Trump International Hotel. The 263-room luxury hotel is becoming the focus of a debate over conflict of interest between Trump and his business dealings.
“Trump doesn’t actually own the landmark building, which was once the headquarters of the U.S. Post Office. In 2013, he signed a 60-year lease for the building with the General Services Administration, which helps manage and support federal agencies. The Trump Organization spent upwards of $200 million on renovations and reopened it as a hotel about a month before the Nov. 8 presidential election.
“But there’s a hitch, according to Steven Schooner, a government procurement expert who is also a law professor at the George Washington University School of Law. Schooner has studied the 100-plus-page contract and says there’s a clause that clearly states elected officials should have no role in the lease.
“The contract between GSA and the Trump Organization specifically says that no elected official of the United States government shall be party to, share in, or benefit from the contract,” he says, citing clause 37.19 of the contract.
“That clause reads:
“No member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.”
“Schooner says the GSA should terminate the lease before Trump becomes president.
“Many potential conflicts
“There are a host of reasons to cancel the deal besides the specific language in the contract, according to Schooner. He says foreign diplomats or special-interest groups could book rooms at the Trump International as a way to curry favor with Trump.
“Once Trump becomes president, he will effectively be both the tenant and the landlord of the building. The administrator of the GSA, an independent body, is also a political appointee.
“So the Trump transition team would be naming the person responsible for the agency that’s managing Trump’s lease. Obviously that’s a problem,” he says.
“The Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment.”

 

Will Congress overlook this legal and ethical breach? Will anyone enforce the law?

 

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Yong Zhao: “It Must Be the Chopsticks”! East Asian Nations Top TIMSS Scores Again

Yong Zhao, born and educated in China, is one of our  most perceptive scholars of schools and society. He holds a professorship at the University of Kansas.

In this article, he reports the results of the latest international test, TIMSS. Once again, the East Asian nations topped the charts. Aside from 8th grade math, which are up, U.S. scores are unchanged.

TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) beat PISA by two weeks. It just released its 2015 results. Within hours of the release, Google News has already collected over 10,000 news stories reacting to the results from around the world, some sad, some happy, some envious, and some confused. The biggest news is, however, nothing new: Children in East Asian countries best at maths. They were the best 20 years ago when TIMSS was first introduced in 1995. They were the best in all subsequent cycles.

Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan are the top performers. In 4th grade, the lowest East Asian country is 23 points above the next best country, Northern Ireland for 4th grade, the same gap as was in 2011, and in 8th grade, a whopping 48 points lead ahead of the next best country, Russia, a 17 point increase from 31 in 2011.

Yong Zhao analyzes the reasons for their high scores.

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