In an interesting turn of events, around 200 democratic members of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have banned together to sue President Trump. NPR reports that the lawsuit was filed on Wednesday of last week in a U.S. District Court in our nation’s capital.
Democratic members from both houses contend that President Trump is unconstitutionally profiting from the presidency. There are certainly a number of pending business deals and current asset holdings in foreign countries that could be perceived as a conflict of interest when it comes to balances politics, business, economics, and law.
The issue in contention for nearly 200 democratic politicians is the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which Senator Blumenthal and others have asserted Trump has repeatedly and aggressively violated during his few months in office.
Granted the Emoluments Clause was written over two hundred years ago, the language is somewhat dated. The clause, though, reads that presidents “can’t accept benefits…from any king, prince, or foreign state” without the expressed consent of Congress. Trump’s vast business holdings around the globe and his lack of interest in getting the consent of Congress have created serious conflicts of interest in the estimation of many democrats and democratic supporters.
One practical case of where this might be a conflict is Trump’s hotels. If a foreign dignitary spends the night at a Trump hotel, and provides Trump with additional revenue revenue because of that stay, could that stay be perceived as currying favor with the sitting president.
Another area of concern is Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, which might provide a fuller picture of Trump’s holdings and potential conflicts of interest. In the current situation, though, democrats are calling for Trump to divest himself from his holdings or fully disclose his financial and economic ties with foreign countries. Trump claims to have pulled back from the day-to-day affairs of the Trump Organization, but will that be enough for the District Court judge?