Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CONYERS & BLUMENTHAL Lay Out The Constitutional Case For Complelling President Trump To Obey Anti-Corruption Foreign Emoluments Clause

In the week since nearly 200 Members of Congress filed a lawsuit to compel President Trump to comply with the Constitution, public reporting has revealed new evidence of foreign benefits

No automatic alt text available.[WASHINGTON, DC] – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) held a press conference at 12:30 PM in the Capitol Visitors Center (SVC-215) to outline the Constitutional case for compelling President Trump to obtain the consent of Congress before accepting payments, benefits, or gifts from foreign states. 

Last week, nearly 200 Members of Congress filed a complaint, below, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against President Trump, whose ongoing failure to disclose his foreign business dealings violates one of the Constitution’s critical anti-corruption provisions: the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

In the week since the lawsuit was filed, public reporting has revealed that President Trump has received additional foreign benefits – including new trademarks in China– and is brokering business deals in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf while regional tensions escalate.

“We are joining in this action to prevent Donald Trump from thumbing his nose at the Constitution and the American people. The Constitution clearly states that no elected official - including the President - may receive gifts, payments, or benefits from foreign governments without disclosing them to Congress and seeking our consent,” Senator Blumenthal said. “The immense magnitude of President Trump's vast business empire is no excuse for his disregard of the Constitution and disrespect for the American people.”

“For generations,” Representative Conyers said, “presidents of both parties have complied with the Foreign Emoluments Clause by either divesting their business and financial holdings, or coming to Congress to seek approval prior to receiving any foreign government payment or other benefits. Our current President has done neither. This course of conduct is keeping Americans in the dark – leaving us to speculate if he’s acting on behalf of the American people or for his own financial benefit. Today’s legal action is designed to help lift our Nation out of this morass of conflicts and restore faith in our government, just as the founders intended.”

Because President Trump has refused to disclose his business dealings abroad, the full scope of his potential Constitutional violations is unknown. Independent reporting has shown that President Trump has received the following foreign emoluments during his presidency among others:

·         Payments from foreign governments housing their officials in rooms or hosting events at Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel after Inauguration Day;
·         Entities owned by foreign states paying rent at Trump World Tower in New York City; and

·         The Chinese government granting thirty-nine trademarks to the Trump Organization.

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN) will also attend Tuesday’s press conference. They will be joined by Elizabeth Wydra, President of the Constitutional Accountability Center, the public interest organization whose attorneys are representing Members of Congress.

U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT)
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA)
U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Elizabeth Wydra, President, Constitutional Accountability Center

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