Dem calls for House inquiry into foreign payments to Trump hotel

Dem calls for House inquiry into foreign payments to Trump hotel

Dem calls for House inquiry into foreign payments to Trump hotel

Just days after Trump's inauguration in January, the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of NY.

The foreign emoluments clause prohibits the president and other government employees from accepting foreign gifts and payments without congressional approval.

Frosh said in a statement on Monday that Trump's "wide-ranging business entanglements violate the Constitution's Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses".

"The president is bound by oath to "faithfully execute" his office and 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States", the lawsuit says, and the president must "disentangle his private finances" from domestic or foreign powers to honor that oath. "The suit was filed by two Democratic attorney generals".

Attorneys General Racine and Frosh expressed their thanks to their staffs and to several partners who provided assistance in assembling the lawsuit. Trump's D.C. hotel, for instance, has already received $270,000 in revenue from government officials of Saudi Arabia during lobbying visits.

"The president's conflict of interests threaten our country", Frosh said.

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Monday's lawsuit, the first by a government body against Trump over the emoluments provision, comes on the heels of other lawsuits, challenging Trump's decision to financially benefit from his enterprises while serving in the White House.

Maryland and D.C. are presented with an "intolerable dilemma" when Trump asks them to grant his businesses land-use permissions or favors, the attorneys general allege.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the White House would move to have the case dismissed. But President Trump's potential conflicts with the Constitution's low-profile emoluments clauses, the focus of a new lawsuit, speak to a radical departure from precedent.

Trump refused to divest from his business empire before taking office, instead claiming his stake in the Trump Organization would be managed by a blind trust. In other words, they must show that the people of D.C. and Maryland have been directly injured by Trump's continued ownership of businesses such as Trump Hotel.

The Justice Department also said the group had defined emoluments too broadly, and that the concept applies only to payments given to the president in his official capacity.

Deepak Gupta, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, told the Associated Press on Friday that the suit has proper standing because it includes plaintiffs who compete with the president's hotels and restaurants for business from foreign governments.

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The Maryland and D.C. attorneys general will seek an order in USA district court in Maryland preventing Trump from continuing to receive government payments beyond his salary.

Artists in Washington, D.C. projected messages on the Trump International Hotel instructing guests to drop off their foreign bribes on May 15.

"Mr. Trump is unique in American history in violating the emoluments clause", Frosh said.

"If that's not a harm to every American citizen and every resident of the District of Columbia and Maryland, I don't know what is", Racine said.

It is at least the third filed by groups and businesses anxious that Trump might be profiting personally from his presidency.

It was at this time that the then-President-elect promised to track and donate all profits from foreign government travel and commerce at his companies to the U.S. Treasury.

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