The acting administrator for the GSA had no direct answer when Rep. Jerrold Nadler pressed him about the potential Constitutional violation raised by the large sums of money foreign governments have paid to Trump Organization properties.

The ongoing, troubling saga of Donald Trump and the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution saw a new disturbing twist, courtesy of the acting administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA).

The massive potential for bribery from foreign governments patronizing Trump Organization properties was a concern from day one of Trump’s presidency, particularly centered around his hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion, which is a federal government property.

As Shareblue noted in November 2016, “The contract, which is valued at $180,000,000, stipulates that no elected official can be party to or share in the lease.”

This significant snarl is the newest in a list of potential problems with this single property: Foreign diplomats have already indicated they believe they can curry favor with Trump by staying in the hotel, and properties branded with the name of the U.S. president risk becoming high-value targets for terrorist attacks.

And yet, despite a lawsuit filed on this issue by 196 Democratic members of Congress, it appears that the GSA is largely unconcerned with this very real and highly unusual situation.

During a House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) questioned the GSA’s acting administrator, Tim Horne, about what, if anything, his agency felt it incumbent upon itself to do in regard to Trump’s potential violation of the Constitution.

When asked by Nadler whether the GSA is ensuring that Trump is keeping to his promise to donate to the U.S. Treasury all payments to his hotels by foreign governments — a pledge from which Trump later backpedaled — Horne repeatedly insisted that his agency’s only duty was to ensure that the agency was “administering the lease” on the hotel.

Nadler asked Horne if he had sought assistance or direction from either the Department of Justice or the Office of Government Ethics “on evaluating whether the Trump Organization is violating the foreign Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution” by not tracking these payments.

Again, Horne said his role was only to administer the lease, to which Nadler replied, “But in administering the lease, you have to determine, presumably, whether you’re administering something legally. You can’t simply ignore it.”

Nadler then asked if there were any other GSA properties currently leased by any elected officials or employees of the federal government. Horne could not answer, which Nadler noted meant he was ignoring the Constitution in executing his duties.

When Horne said that he would only do so if it were a “term and condition of the lease,” Nadler fired back, “It’s a term and condition of the Constitution.”

And when Nadler listed a number of instances of foreign governments spending large sums of money in Trump’s hotel, and asked Horne again if the GSA deemed this appropriate, Horne once more evaded the question by stating that the agency “[doesn’t] get involved in day-to-day operations of the hotel.”

To which Nadler pointedly replied, on the potential Constitutional violation being discussed, “You’re simply agnostic on that point?”

Soon after, he was shut down by the hearing’s chair, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA).

But thanks to lawmakers like Nadler, this issue isn’t going away any time soon — no matter how little interest the GSA has in pursuing it.

Watch the exchange here (full transcript below):

NADLER: Is it a normal practice to try to find out when someone signs a lease, or are you ignoring that provision of the constitution, which is it?

HORNE: The, uh — it would be a normal practice for the contracting officer who makes the decision about lease award to make sure that the, whoever — the awardee was in compliance with the lease.

NADLER: But you don’t know if that includes looking into whether the lessee is an employee of the U.S. government?

HORNE: To the degree that, if that’s a term and condition of the lease, then —

NADLER: No it’s not a term and condition of the lease, it’s a term and condition of the Constitution.

HORNE: Again, GSA’s role is to determine compliance with the lease and applicable laws and —

NADLER: And the Constitution is not applicable?

HORNE: Of course it is.

NADLER: Okay, so why don’t you make — it would seem then that it would be incumbent on you to look into that in every case, or at least ask about it.

HORNE: Well, again, we have 12,000 employees that make these decisions all across the country. It’s their role to look into it.

NADLER: Okay, you have no policy —

HORNE: It’s my job to oversee —

NADLER: And you have no policy to obey the law. Do any other GSA properties help to facilitate payments from foreign governments to federal elected officeholders?

HORNE: Please repeat the question.

NADLER: Do any other GSA properties help to facilitate payments from foreign governments to federal elected officeholders?

HORNE: I’m not aware of any.

NADLER: Okay. Between October 1st and March 31st, lobbyists working on behalf of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia spent $270,000 on rooms, catering, and parking at the Trump Hotel. In December of last year, Bahrani diplomats moved the country’s National Day festivities to the hotel’s ballroom. In February, Kuwait moved its annual gala from the Four Seasons to Trump International. Does the Old Post Office lease agreement prohibit — well, is it appropriate for the GSA to maintain a lease that allows foreign governments to make payments, as I’ve just mentioned, in each case, that directly benefit a government official, in this case the president of the United States?

HORNE: Sir, we manage the terms and conditions of the lease. The contracting officer has determined that the tenant is in compliance with the lease. We don’t manage day-to-day operations. Our job is to administer the lease. We don’t get involved in day-to-day operations of the hotel

NADLER: But your legal department has made no determination one way or the other whether payments from foreign governments to an entity leased from the GSA by a government official, in this case the president of the United States, constitutes a violation of the emoluments clause or not? You’re simply agnostic on that point?

HORNE: Our legal department has supported the decision of the contracting officer —

NADLER: Has it made a written — has it made an opinion on that?

HORNER: — that the tenant is in full compliance with the terms of the lease.

NADLER: Has it made an opinion on it that we can have? Has it made an opinion on that? That’s my question.

HORNE: Our office of legal counsel supports the contracting officer —

NADLER: Has it made an opinion?

BARLETTA: The gentleman’s time has expired.

NADLER: No, no, but he’s got to answer the question.

BARLETTA: The gentleman’s time has expired.

NADLER: He’s got to answer the question.

BARLETTA: The gentleman’s time has expired.

NADLER: But he should instruct —

BARLETTA: The gentleman’s time has expired

NADLER: But he should answer the question!

BARLETTA: Your question was asked after your time has expired.

NADLER: No, it wasn’t.