Trump Isn't Enforcing His Plan to Avoid Violating the Emoluments Clause - 2017-05-24

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F1.png Trump Isn't Enforcing His Plan to Avoid Violating the Emoluments Clause May 24, 2017, Russ Choma, Mother Jones

In January, Donald Trump's lawyer said that the Trump Organization would donate any profits earned at Trump hotels from a foreign government to the US Treasury. The move was supposedly an attempt to stay on the right side of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which prohibits US government officials from taking gifts or benefiting from foreign governments. Ethics experts noted that the pledge, issued by attorney Sheri Dillon, did not truly address this violation of the Constitution. Trump needed to divest his ownership of the hotels, they contended. And now new documents released by congressional Democrats show that Trump is not taking even his insufficient effort seriously.

Because Trump still owns his hotel properties and companies that operate hotels, anyone—a person or business here or overseas, or a foreign government—can directly line the pockets of the US president simply by reserving rooms or renting out conference or banquet facilities at a Trump hotel. Since the inauguration, several foreign governments have rented space at the Trump hotel in Washington, DC, and foreign diplomats have reported being approached by Trump hotel staff soliciting business.

To address the emoluments issue, profits from these sort of transactions involving foreign governments are supposed to go to the US Treasury. But it's hard to determine what counts as profit. And under the plan developed by Dillon, the calculation of profit would be made by the Trump Organization itself, without independent oversight. And there would be no auditing to ensure that all money from foreign governments was covered.

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | first = Russ | last = Choma | title = Trump Isn't Enforcing His Plan to Avoid Violating the Emoluments Clause | url = https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/trump-plan-avoid-emoluments-hotel/ | work = Mother Jones | date = May 24, 2017 | accessdate = November 8, 2021 }}