Lawsuit against Trump for anti-corruption rules violation
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 14:18
A similar suit was filed in a NY federal court in January by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, a public-interest group.
Trump said that he would give up any role in running his companies and cede control to his sons after taking office, but he did not divest his ownership interests in those businesses.
Trump announced in January that he would hand his business over to his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and to Alan Weisselberg - a longtime Trump business executive - through a financial trust, in an effort to eliminate potential conflicts of interests.
Racine says the president has spoken about drawing a line between the presidency and his many businesses and properties but that he "has walked his promise back".
"Fundamental to a President's fidelity [to faithfully execute his oath of office] is the Constitution's demand that the President. disentangle his private finances from those of domestic and foreign powers". He says the Trump administration will continue to move to dismiss the lawsuit in the normal course of business. The suit stated that Trump's failure to end his ties with his businesses undermined public trust and violated constitutional laws against self-dealing.
But the suit also alleges foul play stateside, claiming Trump has received unconstitutional financial favors from the US government!
Attorney General Racine emphasized that the United States is a nation of law and no one including the President is above the law.
Racine and Frosh say the presidents' ongoing business entanglements also leave him open to corrupt influence.
The White House said Monday the president's business interests do not violate the Emoluments Clause, and that the lawsuit is nothing more than blatantly partisan politics.
The challenge "represents an important new front in the emoluments war", according to Norman Eisen, head of the non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) that also filed a similar suit in NY on behalf of private plaintiffs.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer denied Trump was in violation of the clause.
Regardless of the sincerity of foreign gifts, the lawsuit alleges that questions will linger about whether such gifts are seen as essential to maintaining goodwill, and whether the president will be acting in the best interests of the American people, rather than for his own personal enrichment.
"The emolument clauses are a firewall against presidential corruption", said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.
Racine said he hopes the lawsuit will prompt Republicans in Congress and Trump to take steps that the suit is asking the court to take. A Trump official said the company would donate profits from the Saudi payments to the U.S. Treasury.