A number of Senators have sent a letter to the leadership of the Trump Organization demanding that they turn over financial information related to the ongoing concern with whether or not the business is in full compliance with the law.
The concerns raised by these Senators have been raised before, but never in this context.
Donald Trump came into office with financial connections to his many, globe spanning businesses still intact. The law, however, prohibits the President of the United States from deriving income from many of the sources from which the Trump Organization routinely derives income.
For instance, the often cited Emoluments Clause of the Constitution prohibits the President from accepting payments from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. There is a secondary, less often cited clause in the Constitution which prohibits the President from deriving income from the federal government while he or she is in charge of that federal government.
Trump’s businesses, as the Senators cite in their letter, continue to derive income from both of these sources. For instance, as has already been widely decried, the Trump Organization has raked in massive sums of cash from the need for the Secret Service to do such things as rent golf carts while Trump takes his seemingly never ending golfing vacations.
As for foreign interests, officials of foreign governments routinely use the services provided by the Trump Organization’s large network of hotels, including a large number of such institutions in the United States.
Trump, as the Senators note, appeared at one point to understand the seriousness of the situation at hand, but his answer to that situation has proven almost pathetically far from satisfactory.
He announced earlier this year that his assets related to the Trump Organization would, for instance, be placed in a trust — but that trust isn’t “blind.” Rather, President Trump can, apparently, withdraw any income he pleases from the trust at any time and for any reason.
In addition to all of this, Eric Trump has, apparently, said that he’d be giving business updates to President Trump quarterly, at the very least.
Combining all of these things together paints a picture of a president who is not at all in compliance with the law, even though he’s claimed to be.
Thus, the 16 Senators who signed on to the Thursday letter to the Trump Organization want specific documentation as to the business practices of the Trump Organization, seeking to uncover if there is concrete documentation available to confirm what many suspect as to the potentially influential money coming into President Trump’s bank accounts.
Of Trump’s so-called efforts to stave off the calamity of influential foreign money coming into his coffers, the Senators commented that “[i]t defies common sense to believe that this type of arrangement resolves the President’s conflicts of interest.”
The Senators, thus, want to know what steps that the Trump Organization has taken to stave off the influx of foreign cash. Read about the specifics of their request at this link from the website of Senator Patrick Leahy.
Sadly enough, the Democrats who signed onto the letter are members of the minority party in Congress, so they have no authority to compel the Trump Organization to comply with their wishes. The letter simply includes an admonition for the Trump Organization to produce the requested documentation “as soon as possible.”
Featured Image via Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call