The Constitution of the United States of America makes a very clear prohibition against public officials making money from foreign governments. Section 9 of Article 1 of the Constitution reads: “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” An emolument is a presentation of something of value in a business exchange or employment.
As President Elect of the United States, Donald Trump is blatantly violating this provision of the Constitution, which is the highest law of the land. Trump has refused to place his businesses, many of which are regularly and directly paid large amounts of money by foreign governments, in a blind trust. Instead, he is allowing his children, with whom he will be in frequent contact, to run the businesses on his behalf. Foreign diplomats are arranging to pay Trump Hotels $20,000 per night just for one room, in exchange for access to and favor with Trump.
Republicans in Congress appear willing to look the other way while this shameless bribery of President Elect Trump goes on. U.S. Representative Katherine Clark, however, has introduced a bill to the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 6340, that would require President Elect Trump, and any future president, to place all businesses in a blind trust.
Take action now! Call the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask your U.S. Representative to sign on to H.R. 6340 as a cosponsor today!
The primary clauses of Clark’s bill read, “(a) Except as permitted by subsection (b) hereof, whoever, being the President or Vice President of the United States, participates personally and substantially, through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise, in a judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter in which, to their knowledge, the President or Vice President of the United States, their spouse, child, general partner, organization in which they are serving as officer, director, trustee, general partner or employee, or any person or organization with whom they are negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment, has a financial interest shall be subject to the penalties set forth in section 216 of this title.
(b) Subsection (a) shall not apply— (1) if the financial interest that would be affected by the particular matter involved is held in a qualified blind trust as defined by subsection (g); or (2) if the President or Vice President of the United States first advises the Director of the Office of Government Ethics of the nature and circumstances of the judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter and makes full disclosure of the financial interest and receives in advance a written determination made by the Director of the Office of Government Ethics that the interest is not so substantial as to be deemed likely to affect the actions of the President or Vice President or undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of their office.”
The legislation categorizes refusal to place businesses in a blind trust as a high crime and misdemeanor. In otherwords, refusal to create a blind trust would be an impeachable offense.
Under H.R. 6340, a blind trust could not be managed by a family member of the President. Having Ivanka Trump operate the family businesses wouldn’t count.
Passage of this law is most likely to take place before Donald Trump becomes President in January 2017. Take action now! Call the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask your U.S. Representative to sign on to H.R. 6340 as a cosponsor today!