Ethics watchdogs and constitutional scholars have been sounding the alarm for quite some time that Trump’s refusal to divest from his business interests poses serious ethical and constitutional concerns. Now, the New York Times, NBC News and others are reporting that a group of lawyers is filing suit in federal court to demand that Trump’s businesses stop receiving money from foreign interests.
As reported by NBC News, “[h]eavy-hitting lawyers plan to sue President Donald Trump in federal court Monday over business interests that they say put him in violation of the Constitution by receiving payments from foreign governments…The nonprofit good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, will file the suit Monday morning in U.S. District Court.”
The constitutional claim made by the lawsuit is that because his businesses continue to receive money from foreign interests, Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The Emoluments Clause provides that “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.”
Specific alleged violations include money generated off of “leases held by foreign-government-owned entities in Trump Tower in New York…Bookings at Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C….and payments from foreign-government-owned broadcasters related to “The Apprentice” and other transactions and leases at a broad array of other establishments owned or licensed by Trump,” reports NBC.
Restore Progress will continue to report on this story as it develops.