If you’re trying to call the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, you might find yourself on hold for … the afternoon.
The committee’s phones became jammed most of Friday after several Facebook posts calling for an investigation into President-elect Donald Trump’s finances started to go viral. The messages urged readers to call the panel to “support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump’s financials and apparent conflicts of interest.”
Some mentioned the ethical questions surrounding Trump’s daughter and son-in-law’s choice to join his private meeting Thursday night at Trump Tower with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“This is a state meeting and they had no security clearance … and she is supposed to be running his businesses during his presidential term,” stated one post, referring to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. “Can you spell yyyuuuge conflict of interest?”
The Abe meeting was Trump’s first in-person conversation with a foreign leader since he won the election last week. “It was a pleasure to have Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stop by my home and begin a great friendship,” Trump posted on Instagram with a photo.
The presence of Kushner and Ivanka Trump was not the only controversy to spring from the sit-down. The president-elect did not give reporters — including photo journalists — access to the meeting, a break with protocol. That’s why you are not seeing many videos or images from Abe’s visit at major news outlets.
Over on Capitol Hill, an oversight panel aide said staff members are answering calls as fast as they can, but that the system is “backed up.” That’s true — we tested it ourselves. As of 3:30 p.m., calls were going through to voice mail after a message stating the line is “not available.”
Thanks to the concerned Washington Post readers who called and emailed with the tip.
Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.