Rep. Elijah Cummings, the incoming chair of the House committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent 51 letters Wednesday to various members of the Trump Administration, as well as the Trump Organization, laying out what documents he would like them to present in the new Congress.
The documents Cummings had sent were all requests previously issued in the 115th Congress, many in a bipartisan fashion, but which had gone unanswered.
“These are documents that even the Republicans on the Oversight Committee — at least at some point in time — believed we needed to conduct effective oversight, but when the Trump Administration refused to comply fully, the Republicans would not issue a single subpoena,” Cummings said in a statement. “Many of these requests were bipartisan, and some are now more than a year old. As Democrats prepare to take the reins in Congress, we are insisting — as a basic first step — that the Trump Administration and others comply with these Republican requests.”
The letters highlight just a few of the top priorities for Cummings as he investigates the president and the Trump Administration in the next session of Congress. Those include:
• The Trump Organization’s process for identifying payments from foreign governments and entities,
• The family separation policy at the Mexican border,
• Whistleblower protection laws at the Department of Homeland Security,
• White House staffers’ personal email use,
• White House security clearances for staff,
• Record-keeping at the Labor Department,
• Scandals involving former Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt and
• Hurricane response from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The letters were sent to Trump’s attorney Sheri Dillon and George Sorial, executive vice president and chief compliance counsel for the Trump Organization, requesting documentation on the organization’s process for identifying payments from foreign governments and entities; Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Human Health and Services Secretary Alex Azar requesting documentation on the family separation policy; Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, requesting documentation on the agency’s compliance with whistleblower protection laws; White House Counsel Pat Cipollone requesting documentation on White House staffers’ personal email use; Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, requesting documentation on the agency’s compliance with the Federal Records Act; acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler requesting documentation on his predecessor Scott Pruitt; another one to Azar requesting documents on the organization’s hurricane responses, and one to outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly requesting documentation into the White House security process.
The letters requested that the documents be submitted to the committee by Jan. 11. While they went unanswered during the 115th Congress, Democrats helming the committee are hopeful that, given their newfound subpoena power, the recipients will voluntarily comply with the requests to avoid going that route.
Correction, Jan. 9
The original version of this story misstated Sheri Dillion’s first name. It is Sheri, not Sherri.