Difference between revisions of "Trump's Conflicts of Interest"

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==Using the Presidency for Personal Gain==
 
==Using the Presidency for Personal Gain==
 
 
===Laws===
 
===Laws===
 
[https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/5/2635.702 '''§ 2635.702 Use of public office for private gain.''']
 
[https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/5/2635.702 '''§ 2635.702 Use of public office for private gain.''']
 
''An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity, including nonprofit organizations of which the employee is an officer or member, and persons with whom the employee has or seeks employment or business relations. The specific prohibitions set forth in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section apply this general standard, but are not intended to be exclusive or to limit the application of this section.''  
 
''An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity, including nonprofit organizations of which the employee is an officer or member, and persons with whom the employee has or seeks employment or business relations. The specific prohibitions set forth in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section apply this general standard, but are not intended to be exclusive or to limit the application of this section.''  
===Acts===
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 +
===Actions===
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*5/24/17: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has requested a hearing with the Trump Organization about profits from foreign governments. The President, under the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, needs to obtain permission from Congress to accept payment from foreign governments [https://democrats-oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2017-05-24.EEC%20to%20Trump%20Organization.pdf].
 +
* 5/19/17: Trump’s attorneys did not want him to sign his 2016 financial disclosure form, which would have certified the information submitted as true. However, the Office of Government Ethics insisted he sign them, because this is standard for financial disclosures.[https://mobile.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/05/19/us/politics/ap-us-trump-ethics.html?referer=https://www.google.com/]
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* 5/9/17: A Trump-owned resort in French St. Martin is for sale, raising ethical concerns that buyers could purchase the property in exchange for favors completed by the Administration [https://apnews.com/8a268716ce7f4bc181dbf81a1f81bfb2].
 
*3/9/2017 Eric Trump, who oversees Trump Golf Courses, stated  (in a press conference) “I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.” This is due to product placement of incalculable value that is helping boost the Trump Organization’s golf courses: his father. [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/09/us/politics/trump-golf-courses.html]
 
*3/9/2017 Eric Trump, who oversees Trump Golf Courses, stated  (in a press conference) “I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.” This is due to product placement of incalculable value that is helping boost the Trump Organization’s golf courses: his father. [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/09/us/politics/trump-golf-courses.html]
*3/9/2017 The Office of Government Ethics informed the White House that they were not pleased that [[Trump_Appointments_and_Influencers#Kellyanne_Conway|Kellyanne Conway]] was not being disciplined for promoting [[Trump_Appointments_and_Influencers#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka Trump]]'s business.[https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/839935775944937472]
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*3/9/2017 The Office of Government Ethics informed the White House that they were not pleased that [[Trump_Administration#Kellyanne_Conway|Kellyanne Conway]] was not being disciplined for promoting [[Trump_Administration#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka Trump]]'s business.[https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/839935775944937472]
 
*3/8/2017: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a house from a Chilean billionaire whose company is involved in a dispute with the US government over a mine.  [https://www.wsj.com/articles/ivanka-trumps-landlord-is-a-chilean-billionaire-suing-the-u-s-government-1489000307]
 
*3/8/2017: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a house from a Chilean billionaire whose company is involved in a dispute with the US government over a mine.  [https://www.wsj.com/articles/ivanka-trumps-landlord-is-a-chilean-billionaire-suing-the-u-s-government-1489000307]
 
*3/4/2017:  Donald Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., are overseeing an expansion of the family business during their father’s presidency.  This includes a new hotel chain and expansion to new cities. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-sons-planning-expansion-of-family-business-look-to-leverage-campaign-experience/2017/03/04/28e2f44a-fab4-11e6-9845-576c69081518_story.html?utm_term=.dcce78cce9ad]
 
*3/4/2017:  Donald Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., are overseeing an expansion of the family business during their father’s presidency.  This includes a new hotel chain and expansion to new cities. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-sons-planning-expansion-of-family-business-look-to-leverage-campaign-experience/2017/03/04/28e2f44a-fab4-11e6-9845-576c69081518_story.html?utm_term=.dcce78cce9ad]
 
*Trump invited Japanese Prime Minister to stay (and play golf) at his Mar A Lago resort in [[Florida]]. There are two concerns here: 1) By hosting foreign leaders at his resort, Trump is directly receiving money from a foreign government; and 2) If Trump is putting the Prime Minister up for free, "he is then donating money to a foreign government."[http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/japanese-pm-s-golf-trip-trump-resort-raises-ethics-questions-n718881]  
 
*Trump invited Japanese Prime Minister to stay (and play golf) at his Mar A Lago resort in [[Florida]]. There are two concerns here: 1) By hosting foreign leaders at his resort, Trump is directly receiving money from a foreign government; and 2) If Trump is putting the Prime Minister up for free, "he is then donating money to a foreign government."[http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/japanese-pm-s-golf-trip-trump-resort-raises-ethics-questions-n718881]  
*[[Trump_Appointments_and_Influencers#Kellyanne_Conway|Kellyanne Conway]] urged viewers during an appearance on Fox & Friends to buy [[Trump_Appointments_and_Influencers#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka Trump]] merchandise, adding that she was "going to give it a free commercial here." This is in direct violation of § 2635.702 Use of public office for private gain.[https://m.mic.com/articles/168097/kellyanne-conway-gives-ivanka-trumps-nordstrom-clothing-line-a-free-commercial?utm_content=buffer6e95b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=ckatz+twitter#.wHBIU32VU]. In response to this, the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Chaffetz, sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics asking for a review of potential ethics violations. Since Conway reports to the President, and the comment regarded his daughter's private business, this created an additional conflict of interest.[https://twitter.com/gopoversight/status/829819360009125889]
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*[[Trump_Administration#Kellyanne_Conway|Kellyanne Conway]] urged viewers during an appearance on Fox & Friends to buy [[Trump_Administration#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka Trump]] merchandise, adding that she was "going to give it a free commercial here." This is in direct violation of § 2635.702 Use of public office for private gain.[https://m.mic.com/articles/168097/kellyanne-conway-gives-ivanka-trumps-nordstrom-clothing-line-a-free-commercial?utm_content=buffer6e95b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=ckatz+twitter#.wHBIU32VU]. In response to this, the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Chaffetz, sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics asking for a review of potential ethics violations. Since Conway reports to the President, and the comment regarded his daughter's private business, this created an additional conflict of interest.[https://twitter.com/gopoversight/status/829819360009125889]
 
*2/8/17: Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are calling on the General Services Administration to release "unredacted, complete" documents detailing how they're addressing Trump's apparent lease breach (regarding the Old Post Office, a Trump hotel in DC).[https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/829505734081667072]
 
*2/8/17: Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are calling on the General Services Administration to release "unredacted, complete" documents detailing how they're addressing Trump's apparent lease breach (regarding the Old Post Office, a Trump hotel in DC).[https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/829505734081667072]
 
*2/7/17: The Department of Defense is considering renting space in Trump Tower.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/department-of-defense-looks-to-rent-space-in-trump-tower/2017/02/07/6dec7252-edb0-11e6-9662-6eedf1627882_story.html?utm_term=.7af30bc65d6a]
 
*2/7/17: The Department of Defense is considering renting space in Trump Tower.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/department-of-defense-looks-to-rent-space-in-trump-tower/2017/02/07/6dec7252-edb0-11e6-9662-6eedf1627882_story.html?utm_term=.7af30bc65d6a]
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*2/9/17: A lobbying firm working for Saudi Arabia paid for a room at Donald Trump’s Washington hotel after Inauguration Day, marking the first publicly known payment on behalf of a foreign government to a Trump property since he became president. This appears to violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.[http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-hotel-saudi-arabia-234878?cmpid=sf]
 
*2/9/17: A lobbying firm working for Saudi Arabia paid for a room at Donald Trump’s Washington hotel after Inauguration Day, marking the first publicly known payment on behalf of a foreign government to a Trump property since he became president. This appears to violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.[http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-hotel-saudi-arabia-234878?cmpid=sf]
  
== Trump's Potential Conflicts of Interest ==
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== Trump Family's Potential Conflicts of Interest ==
*Donald Trump has named his son-in-law, [[Trump_Appointments_and_Influencers#Jared_Kushner|Jared Kushner]], to the position of senior adviser, which most experts concluded was in violation of anti-nepotism laws.[http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/us/jared-kushner-senior-adviser-white-house-trump.html?&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news] However, the Justice Department has issued an opinion saying that it is not a violation.[http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/justice-department-blesses-white-house-post-for-kushner-233968] The opinion is not binding in court, but it is unclear who would have the ability to challenge the appointment, because it would be hard for someone to claim they are personally harmed by the appointment.[http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/justice-department-blesses-white-house-post-for-kushner-233968]
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* 5/21/17: On the same weekend that Jared Kushner negotiated a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have donated $100 million to Kushner’s wife Ivanka Trump’s newly-formed “women’s fund” [http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/politics/jared-kushner-saudi-arms-deal-lockheed-martin/].
 +
* 5/6/17: The Kushner family presented to Beijing investors that, if they invested $500,000 in New Jersey real estate, they would secure an “investor’s visa” and be allowed to immigrate to the United States [https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-a-beijing-ballroom-kushner-family-flogs-500000-investor-visa-to-wealthy-chinese/2017/05/06/cf711e53-eb49-4f9a-8dea-3cd836fcf287_story.html?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.eaa6c2524e63]. The presentation included Trump by name, listing him as a “key decision maker” in the investor visa program [https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C_LiG8kXkAAjhlH.jpg].
 +
* 5/4/17: @GenderAtState, the account run by the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, retweeted Ivanka Trump’s post promoting her own book [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ivanka-trump-book-state-department_us_590b7f4fe4b0104c734d035f?lxp].
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* 5/3/17: Kushner did not identify a real-estate start-up called Cadre or ties to Goldman Sachs in his government financial disclosures, despite that senior government officials are required to disclose all business interests before assuming office [http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-adviser-kushners-undisclosed-partners-include-goldman-and-soros-2017-05-03].
 +
*[[Trump_Administration#Press_Secretary_Sean_Spicer|Press Secretary Sean Spicer]] is now referring questions about [[Trump_Administration#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka Trump]] to the Trump Organization.[https://twitter.com/celestekatznyc/status/859113497967431681]
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*A New York hotel deal shows how some public pension funds pay one of Trump's companies to run it.[http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-hotel-exclusive-idUSKBN17S13O?utm_source=applenews]
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*[[Trump_Administration#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka Trump]] imports, mostly from China, have risen as Ivanka has started her new political career at the White House.[http://apne.ws/2oozj8c]
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*Trump's companies own more than 400 condo units and home lots whose sale could potentially steer millions to Trump.[https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/20/trump-owns-250m-condos-and-you-could-buy-one/100566302/ USAToday spent four months] cataloging every property Trump's companies own across the country.
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*Ivanka Trump's business was awarded provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks. These trademarks give China monopoly rights to sell the Ivanka brand.[https://apnews.com/d9e34f23a64947d99e4a7d757012c509?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP]
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*Donald Trump's attorney confirmed that President Trump can withdraw profits and underlying assets from his trust at any time. He also said the president has been able to withdraw money since Trump took office on January 20.[https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-pull-money-his-businesses-whenever-he-wants-without-telling-us?utm_campaign=sprout&utm_medium=social&utm_source=sprout&utm_content=1491221180]
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*[[Trump_Administration#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka Trump]] and her husband [[Trump_Administration#Senior_Adviser_Jared_Kushner|Jared Kushner]], who are both senior White House employees, are still benefitting financially from the Trump family's real estate business and investments, which are worth more than $700 million. It is illegal for either to take government action that would benefit them financially, but Ivanka Trump's holdings in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and Kushner's real estate dealings with China may already be conflicts of interest.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/us/politics/ivanka-trump-jared-kushner-conflicts-business-empire.html?_r=0]
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*Donald Trump has named his daughter, Ivanka, Special Assistant to the President. Ivanka's role is to be her father’s “eyes and ears” in the White House. She will become an unpaid government employee with a security clearance. As an official White House employee, she’ll also be bound by regulations on financial disclosures and conflicts of interest, although to date, she has not removed herself completely from her business.[http://www.vox.com/2017/3/22/15005508/ivanka-trump-white-house-nepotism]
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*After promising not to talk about business with his father, Eric Trump say's he'll be giving him financial reports from the Trump businesses. He has not said how frequently he will do this.[https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2017/03/24/after-promising-not-donald-talk-business-with-father-eric-trump-says-president-give-him-financial-reports/#4ebf442c359a]
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*Donald Trump has named his son-in-law, [[Trump_Administration#Jared_Kushner|Jared Kushner]], to the position of senior adviser, which most experts say violates anti-nepotism laws (laws that prevent giving family members positions that they are not qualified for).[http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/us/jared-kushner-senior-adviser-white-house-trump.html?&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news] The Justice Department has issued an opinion saying that it is not a violation,[http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/justice-department-blesses-white-house-post-for-kushner-233968] but the opinion is not binding in court. It is unclear who would be able to challenge the appointment, since only someone personally harmed by the appointment could file suit.[http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/justice-department-blesses-white-house-post-for-kushner-233968]
 
*Donald Trump and his children have more than 500 potential conflicts of interest.[http://www.wsj.com/graphics/donald-trump-potential-conflicts-of-interest/] This is because, in violation of past ethical norms, Trump is not divesting himself of his assets or putting them into a blind trust where he won't know how they're being managed.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/11/us/politics/trump-organization-business-conflicts.html?emc=edit_na_20170111&nlid=56660956&ref=cta&_r=0] President Trump has not resigned from management positions of his companies.[https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-promised-to-resign-from-his-companies-but-no-record-hes-done-so?utm_campaign=sprout&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=1484944601] His plan to have his adult sons manage his holdings was harshly condemned by the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics, who said that it puts democracy at risk.[http://www.vox.com/2017/1/11/14243146/trump-conflicts-office-government-ethics-speech]
 
*Donald Trump and his children have more than 500 potential conflicts of interest.[http://www.wsj.com/graphics/donald-trump-potential-conflicts-of-interest/] This is because, in violation of past ethical norms, Trump is not divesting himself of his assets or putting them into a blind trust where he won't know how they're being managed.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/11/us/politics/trump-organization-business-conflicts.html?emc=edit_na_20170111&nlid=56660956&ref=cta&_r=0] President Trump has not resigned from management positions of his companies.[https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-promised-to-resign-from-his-companies-but-no-record-hes-done-so?utm_campaign=sprout&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=1484944601] His plan to have his adult sons manage his holdings was harshly condemned by the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics, who said that it puts democracy at risk.[http://www.vox.com/2017/1/11/14243146/trump-conflicts-office-government-ethics-speech]
 
*If Trump receives a gift (monetary or not) from a foreign government through his business dealings, he may find himself in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and open to [[How Impeachment Works|impeachment]].[http://fortune.com/2017/01/09/trump-emoluments/] Furthermore, trust records show that Trump is still closely tied to his empire. Records show that the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefit” of the president.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/us/politics/donald-trump-business.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news]
 
*If Trump receives a gift (monetary or not) from a foreign government through his business dealings, he may find himself in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and open to [[How Impeachment Works|impeachment]].[http://fortune.com/2017/01/09/trump-emoluments/] Furthermore, trust records show that Trump is still closely tied to his empire. Records show that the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefit” of the president.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/us/politics/donald-trump-business.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news]
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*Several large corporations that stand to benefit from Trump's policies contributed to Trump's inaugural committee, which earned them increased access to inaugural events. These corporations include Pfizer, Dow Chemical, Microsoft, Exxon, Amgen, Altria, GM, and Verizon.[https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/01/31/20651/donald-trumps-inauguration-fueled-tobacco-oil-and-drug-company-money?utm_content=buffer9dab9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer]
 
*Several large corporations that stand to benefit from Trump's policies contributed to Trump's inaugural committee, which earned them increased access to inaugural events. These corporations include Pfizer, Dow Chemical, Microsoft, Exxon, Amgen, Altria, GM, and Verizon.[https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/01/31/20651/donald-trumps-inauguration-fueled-tobacco-oil-and-drug-company-money?utm_content=buffer9dab9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer]
 
*Trumps wife, Melania, admitted that she hoped to cash in on being First Lady by selling clothes and fragrances.[http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/melania-trumps-lawyers-admit-she-hoped-to-cash-in-on-being-first-lady-by-selling-clothes-and-fragrances/]
 
*Trumps wife, Melania, admitted that she hoped to cash in on being First Lady by selling clothes and fragrances.[http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/melania-trumps-lawyers-admit-she-hoped-to-cash-in-on-being-first-lady-by-selling-clothes-and-fragrances/]
*Trump blasted Nordstrom for no longer carrying his daughter [[Trump_Appointments_and_Influencers#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka's]] brand. He said she was being treated unfairly. Nordstrom's stock temporarily dipped, but later rebounded.[https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/829356871848951809]
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*Trump blasted Nordstrom for no longer carrying his daughter [[Trump_Administration#Ivanka_Trump|Ivanka's]] brand. He said she was being treated unfairly. Nordstrom's stock temporarily dipped, but later rebounded.[https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/829356871848951809]
 
*Donald Trump's son Eric visited a decades-old, failed real estate project in the Dominican Republic. There is talk that the project might be revived. This goes against the President's pledge that his company would not launch new foreign deals while he is in office.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/09/the-trump-organization-may-revive-its-failed-dominican-resort-project/]
 
*Donald Trump's son Eric visited a decades-old, failed real estate project in the Dominican Republic. There is talk that the project might be revived. This goes against the President's pledge that his company would not launch new foreign deals while he is in office.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/09/the-trump-organization-may-revive-its-failed-dominican-resort-project/]
 
*The family of Jared Kushner (son-in-law of, and Senior Advisor to Trump), is set to receive $400 million from a prominent Chinese company (Anbang Insurance Company) that is investing in the Kushners’ marquee Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Ave.[https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-13/kushners-set-to-get-400-million-from-chinese-on-marquee-tower]
 
*The family of Jared Kushner (son-in-law of, and Senior Advisor to Trump), is set to receive $400 million from a prominent Chinese company (Anbang Insurance Company) that is investing in the Kushners’ marquee Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Ave.[https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-13/kushners-set-to-get-400-million-from-chinese-on-marquee-tower]
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==Lawsuits==
 
==Lawsuits==
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*4/18/2017: A legal watchdog group, CREW, expanded a federal lawsuit filed earlier this year (see 1/23/2017 entry), accusing Trump of violating the Constitution by continuing to own and profit from his business empire.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/us/politics/trump-crew-lawsuit-constitution.html?smid=tw-share]
 
*3/9/2017:  A local restaurant in Washington, D.C. is filing a lawsuit against the Trump International Hotel alleging unfair competition.  The defendants are Trump and the Trump Old Post Office, LLC, which operates the hotel. [http://www.press.org/events/press-conference-announce-filing-lawsuit-against-donald-j-trump-and-trump-old-post-office-llc]
 
*3/9/2017:  A local restaurant in Washington, D.C. is filing a lawsuit against the Trump International Hotel alleging unfair competition.  The defendants are Trump and the Trump Old Post Office, LLC, which operates the hotel. [http://www.press.org/events/press-conference-announce-filing-lawsuit-against-donald-j-trump-and-trump-old-post-office-llc]
 
*1/23/2017: Lawyers have filed a [http://s3.amazonaws.com/storage.citizensforethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/23140054/CREW-DJT-Final.pdf lawsuit] alleging that Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to continue accepting payments from foreign governments. The suit, which will not be requesting any monetary damages, will request that federal court order Trump to stop accepting such payments.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/us/politics/trump-foreign-payments-constitution-lawsuit.html?smid=tw-share][https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/26/trump-is-getting-payments-from-foreign-governments-we-have-no-idea-what-they-are/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.ae48d97c532e]
 
*1/23/2017: Lawyers have filed a [http://s3.amazonaws.com/storage.citizensforethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/23140054/CREW-DJT-Final.pdf lawsuit] alleging that Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to continue accepting payments from foreign governments. The suit, which will not be requesting any monetary damages, will request that federal court order Trump to stop accepting such payments.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/us/politics/trump-foreign-payments-constitution-lawsuit.html?smid=tw-share][https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/26/trump-is-getting-payments-from-foreign-governments-we-have-no-idea-what-they-are/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.ae48d97c532e]

Latest revision as of 23:39, 24 May 2017

This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.

How You Can Resist[edit]

  • Dial tel:844-6-RESIST to tell your senators to support the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017, which would require the President and Vice President to fully divest themselves of conflicts of interest.[1] See How Impeachment Works for more information.

Using the Presidency for Personal Gain[edit]

Laws[edit]

§ 2635.702 Use of public office for private gain. An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity, including nonprofit organizations of which the employee is an officer or member, and persons with whom the employee has or seeks employment or business relations. The specific prohibitions set forth in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section apply this general standard, but are not intended to be exclusive or to limit the application of this section.

Actions[edit]

  • 5/24/17: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has requested a hearing with the Trump Organization about profits from foreign governments. The President, under the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, needs to obtain permission from Congress to accept payment from foreign governments [2].
  • 5/19/17: Trump’s attorneys did not want him to sign his 2016 financial disclosure form, which would have certified the information submitted as true. However, the Office of Government Ethics insisted he sign them, because this is standard for financial disclosures.[3]
  • 5/9/17: A Trump-owned resort in French St. Martin is for sale, raising ethical concerns that buyers could purchase the property in exchange for favors completed by the Administration [4].
  • 3/9/2017 Eric Trump, who oversees Trump Golf Courses, stated (in a press conference) “I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.” This is due to product placement of incalculable value that is helping boost the Trump Organization’s golf courses: his father. [5]
  • 3/9/2017 The Office of Government Ethics informed the White House that they were not pleased that Kellyanne Conway was not being disciplined for promoting Ivanka Trump's business.[6]
  • 3/8/2017: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a house from a Chilean billionaire whose company is involved in a dispute with the US government over a mine. [7]
  • 3/4/2017: Donald Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., are overseeing an expansion of the family business during their father’s presidency. This includes a new hotel chain and expansion to new cities. [8]
  • Trump invited Japanese Prime Minister to stay (and play golf) at his Mar A Lago resort in Florida. There are two concerns here: 1) By hosting foreign leaders at his resort, Trump is directly receiving money from a foreign government; and 2) If Trump is putting the Prime Minister up for free, "he is then donating money to a foreign government."[9]
  • Kellyanne Conway urged viewers during an appearance on Fox & Friends to buy Ivanka Trump merchandise, adding that she was "going to give it a free commercial here." This is in direct violation of § 2635.702 Use of public office for private gain.[10]. In response to this, the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Chaffetz, sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics asking for a review of potential ethics violations. Since Conway reports to the President, and the comment regarded his daughter's private business, this created an additional conflict of interest.[11]
  • 2/8/17: Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are calling on the General Services Administration to release "unredacted, complete" documents detailing how they're addressing Trump's apparent lease breach (regarding the Old Post Office, a Trump hotel in DC).[12]
  • 2/7/17: The Department of Defense is considering renting space in Trump Tower.[13]
  • 2/3/17: Donald Trump has two events this weekend, both benefiting his businesses.[14]
  • Donald Trump's hotel chain plans to triple its US presence, contradicting a pledge the president made in December that no new deals would be done by his organization during his time in office.[15]
  • Trump signed an executive order that would suspend all entry to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East. His proposed list doesn’t include Muslim-majority countries where his Trump Organization has done business or pursued potential deals.[16]
  • Eric Trump's recent business trip cost taxpayers $97,830 in hotel bills.[17]
  • President Trump issued a memorandum regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. The memorandum instructed the Secretary of the Army to instruct the Army Corp of Engineers to expedite the permitting and easement process.[18] The Dakota Access Pipeline is owned by Energy Transfer Partners, in which Donald Trump held shares worth between $500,000 and $1,000,000, according to a disclosure form with the Federal Election Commission.[19] His spokeswoman Hope Hicks has claimed that he sold the stock, but there is no evidence of this transaction.[20]
  • 2/9/17: A lobbying firm working for Saudi Arabia paid for a room at Donald Trump’s Washington hotel after Inauguration Day, marking the first publicly known payment on behalf of a foreign government to a Trump property since he became president. This appears to violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.[21]

Trump Family's Potential Conflicts of Interest[edit]

  • 5/21/17: On the same weekend that Jared Kushner negotiated a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have donated $100 million to Kushner’s wife Ivanka Trump’s newly-formed “women’s fund” [22].
  • 5/6/17: The Kushner family presented to Beijing investors that, if they invested $500,000 in New Jersey real estate, they would secure an “investor’s visa” and be allowed to immigrate to the United States [23]. The presentation included Trump by name, listing him as a “key decision maker” in the investor visa program [24].
  • 5/4/17: @GenderAtState, the account run by the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, retweeted Ivanka Trump’s post promoting her own book [25].
  • 5/3/17: Kushner did not identify a real-estate start-up called Cadre or ties to Goldman Sachs in his government financial disclosures, despite that senior government officials are required to disclose all business interests before assuming office [26].
  • Press Secretary Sean Spicer is now referring questions about Ivanka Trump to the Trump Organization.[27]
  • A New York hotel deal shows how some public pension funds pay one of Trump's companies to run it.[28]
  • Ivanka Trump imports, mostly from China, have risen as Ivanka has started her new political career at the White House.[29]
  • Trump's companies own more than 400 condo units and home lots whose sale could potentially steer millions to Trump.USAToday spent four months cataloging every property Trump's companies own across the country.
  • Ivanka Trump's business was awarded provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks. These trademarks give China monopoly rights to sell the Ivanka brand.[30]
  • Donald Trump's attorney confirmed that President Trump can withdraw profits and underlying assets from his trust at any time. He also said the president has been able to withdraw money since Trump took office on January 20.[31]
  • Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who are both senior White House employees, are still benefitting financially from the Trump family's real estate business and investments, which are worth more than $700 million. It is illegal for either to take government action that would benefit them financially, but Ivanka Trump's holdings in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and Kushner's real estate dealings with China may already be conflicts of interest.[32]
  • Donald Trump has named his daughter, Ivanka, Special Assistant to the President. Ivanka's role is to be her father’s “eyes and ears” in the White House. She will become an unpaid government employee with a security clearance. As an official White House employee, she’ll also be bound by regulations on financial disclosures and conflicts of interest, although to date, she has not removed herself completely from her business.[33]
  • After promising not to talk about business with his father, Eric Trump say's he'll be giving him financial reports from the Trump businesses. He has not said how frequently he will do this.[34]
  • Donald Trump has named his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to the position of senior adviser, which most experts say violates anti-nepotism laws (laws that prevent giving family members positions that they are not qualified for).[35] The Justice Department has issued an opinion saying that it is not a violation,[36] but the opinion is not binding in court. It is unclear who would be able to challenge the appointment, since only someone personally harmed by the appointment could file suit.[37]
  • Donald Trump and his children have more than 500 potential conflicts of interest.[38] This is because, in violation of past ethical norms, Trump is not divesting himself of his assets or putting them into a blind trust where he won't know how they're being managed.[39] President Trump has not resigned from management positions of his companies.[40] His plan to have his adult sons manage his holdings was harshly condemned by the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics, who said that it puts democracy at risk.[41]
  • If Trump receives a gift (monetary or not) from a foreign government through his business dealings, he may find himself in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and open to impeachment.[42] Furthermore, trust records show that Trump is still closely tied to his empire. Records show that the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefit” of the president.[43]
  • The Federal Election Commission has asked Donald Trump for clarification about 50 campaign donations, out of concern that they may have been illegal.[44]
  • The White House website's biography of First Lady Melania Trump initially promoted her jewelry line, but has been updated to simply describe her as an entreprenuer.[45]
  • Donald Trump registered eight new companies in Saudi Arabia shortly after announcing his bid for the presidency (August 2015). Trump registered the companies under various names, including THC Jeddah Hotel and DT Jeddah Technical Services.[46]
  • The companies that make up the Trump Organization save millions of dollars on taxes because they can deduct interest paid on debts from their total taxable income. Congressional Republicans have proposed changing the tax code to eliminate this deduction, but Trump's tax plan would maintain the deduction and thus the benefits for his companies.[47]
  • Several large corporations that stand to benefit from Trump's policies contributed to Trump's inaugural committee, which earned them increased access to inaugural events. These corporations include Pfizer, Dow Chemical, Microsoft, Exxon, Amgen, Altria, GM, and Verizon.[48]
  • Trumps wife, Melania, admitted that she hoped to cash in on being First Lady by selling clothes and fragrances.[49]
  • Trump blasted Nordstrom for no longer carrying his daughter Ivanka's brand. He said she was being treated unfairly. Nordstrom's stock temporarily dipped, but later rebounded.[50]
  • Donald Trump's son Eric visited a decades-old, failed real estate project in the Dominican Republic. There is talk that the project might be revived. This goes against the President's pledge that his company would not launch new foreign deals while he is in office.[51]
  • The family of Jared Kushner (son-in-law of, and Senior Advisor to Trump), is set to receive $400 million from a prominent Chinese company (Anbang Insurance Company) that is investing in the Kushners’ marquee Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Ave.[52]
  • Mexico OKs new Trump trademarks for hotels and tourism. Trademark papers were filed on February 19, 2016, while Trump was campaigning against jobs moving to Mexico. One trademark was approved October 6 2016, three were approved February 21,2017.[53]

Lawsuits[edit]

  • 4/18/2017: A legal watchdog group, CREW, expanded a federal lawsuit filed earlier this year (see 1/23/2017 entry), accusing Trump of violating the Constitution by continuing to own and profit from his business empire.[54]
  • 3/9/2017: A local restaurant in Washington, D.C. is filing a lawsuit against the Trump International Hotel alleging unfair competition. The defendants are Trump and the Trump Old Post Office, LLC, which operates the hotel. [55]
  • 1/23/2017: Lawyers have filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to continue accepting payments from foreign governments. The suit, which will not be requesting any monetary damages, will request that federal court order Trump to stop accepting such payments.[56][57]

Resources[edit]

Building a System of Comprehensive Accountability to Control Corruption By Larry Diamond