The Array of Conflicts of Interest Facing the Trump Presidency
- and his children run the Trump Organization,
- that will be negotiating foreign policy with the Trump administration
- which has business interests in countries around the world
- Politics | The Array of Conflicts of Interest Facing the Trump Presidency
- The head of the Internal Revenue Service is nominated by the president for a five-year term.
Donald J. Trump’s global business empire will create an unprecedented number of conflicts of interest for a United States president, experts say.
@BrentNYT: Trump already has more conflicts of interest than any previous president, writes @nytimes
Donald J. Trump’s global business empire will create an unprecedented number of conflicts of interest for a United States president, experts in legal ethics say.
Mr. Trump has said he will separate himself from his company before taking the oath of office, but he has not offered any details on how.
Ethics experts warn that if Mr. Trump puts his children in control of operations but continues to own the company, he will remain vulnerable to charges that his actions as president are guided by personal financial interests.
Here are some examples of the potential conflicts:
The Trump Organization’s contract with the General Services Administration prohibits any elected official of the United States government from being part of the lease or deriving any benefit from it.
Unless the agency ends its lease before the president-elect takes office, Mr. Trump will, in effect, be both the landlord and tenant of the building, according to two government procurement experts, Steven L. Schooner and Daniel I. Gordon.
Mr. Schooner and Mr. Gordon wrote that putting Mr. Trump’s children in charge of the organization was “plainly insufficient to avoid strictly any conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict, particularly where the president’s name will remain as the hotel’s name, brand, trademark and marquee.”
Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, is in negotiations with the Justice Department to settle claims over its handling of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis.
Questions remain about the bank’s ability to pay a large penalty. The Justice Department’s opening bid was $14 billion.
If the negotiations are not settled by Jan. 20, Mr. Trump will oversee a department that has the potential to make or break the bottom line of one of his biggest lenders.
The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency responsible for enforcing labor laws and safeguarding employees’ right to organize.
The five members Mr. Trump appoints will be in charge of investigating complaints brought by workers, which could include those at his hotels and other properties.
At a minimum, ethics experts warn, Mr. Trump’s holdings around the globe could give the appearance of tainting his decisions on various foreign issues.
In addition, they could also open him up to accusations that he has violated a part of the Constitution known as the emoluments clause, which prohibits government officials from taking payments or gifts from a foreign government or entity.
“Unless he divests ownership, he will have an interest in the foreign government payments and benefits that flow to his business daily,” said Norm Eisen and Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyers for President Obama and former President George W. Bush, respectively, in a statement on Democracy 21, a group that pushes for government transparency.