Donald Trump Faces Many Conflict Issues
Donald Trump, President-elect, could be in violation of the Constitution on his first day in office according to some constitutional law experts. The written document prohibits officeholders from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” Some law experts believe Trump’s businesses are already benefiting from his new position. One example is in Kuwait. The small country moved its National Celebration Day from the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown to the Trump International Hotel instead. According to ThinkProgress, Kuwait faced political pressure from the Trump camp to move the location. It has been reported that other diplomats have been urged to hold events at Trump’s hotel.
Donald Trump Owns or Has a Controlling Interest in More Than 500 Businesses
Donald Trump, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, says we are here because the President-elect has a controlling interest in more than 500 businesses, both foreign and domestic. Ryan says, “We don’t even know the nature of his financial holdings. We don’t even have a clear picture, due to a lack of transparency of exactly what businesses he owns. What we know is these businesses pose a massive conflict of interest.” Ryan went on to use the Trump Hotel (in Washington, DC) as an example. The building is owned by the federal government. Ryan said, “On the day that President-elect Trump is sworn in, he will be serving as both the landlord and the tenant in federally owned property.”
Richard Painter, professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota and the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush for more than two years said that there are several laws. He continued, “I think the most important, for purposes of President-elect Trump, is the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which is one of the most critical conflict of interest provisions for all U.S. government officials. Nobody holding a position of trust with the United States government can receive payments from foreign governments, whether gifts or a salary or profits. And that’s what emoluments are, profits or benefits. And so, if you have somebody who’s making profits from dealing with foreign governments or companies controlled by foreign governments, that person must dispense with those profits, cannot receive that money, while holding any position of trust with the United States government.”
Painter says, at a bare minimum, Trump is going to need to get the foreign government money and money from foreign government-controlled corporations out of his business enterprise. Painter explained that “this includes foreign diplomats staying at the hotels at government expense, foreign governments having big parties in his hotels and canceling plans at others. All of this is unconstitutional…all of this has to be dealt with before January 20, or we could have a violation of the Constitution.”
Trump had planned a major news conference, on December 15th in order to reveal his plans for his businesses as well as the involvement of his daughter and two sons. The press conference was canceled and moved to January; however, the date has not yet been set.