Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee, fired off more than 50 letters Wednesday seeking documents on a wide array of issues, including Ivanka Trump’s email practices, the Trump administration’s policy of family separations at the border, and its handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
The move underscored plans for a vigorous oversight of the Republican administration once Democrats take control of the House next month and provided a list of some early targets.
Cummings said that none of the requests are altogether new. They previously were made by Republican lawmakers, but the Trump administration refused to fully comply — an option that will become more difficult once House Democrats are armed with subpoena power.
“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,” Cummings said in a statement.
Most of the letters were sent to the White House and Cabinet departments. The others sought records from the Trump Organization related to payments from foreign governments, and from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on the water crisis in Flint, Mich.
Other targets included the White House’s security clearance policy, the use of government-owned aircraft for personal travel by administration officials, and various activities of Scott Pruitt, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Pruitt resigned in July after controversies over his lavish spending, ethical lapses and management decisions.
Cummings is also re-upping document requests related to whistleblower protections and retention of records at multiple agencies.
Among the more detailed requests is one sent to the White House related to use of personal email and messaging accounts by staff there for government business. In addition to some broader inquires, the letter from Cummings asks the White House to “identify with specificity the number of emails to and from Ivanka Trump’s personal email account referring to or relating to official business.”
The Washington Post reported last month that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser, sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules.
During an interview last month with ABC News, Ivanka Trump downplayed concerns about her email practices. She said she had forwarded any relevant email sent to her personal account to her government account in accordance with the Presidential Records Act and that the emails in question contained no classified information.