President Trump’s decision to retain ownership of his company when he became president could be a huge problem, despite having handed over the reigns to the Trump Organization to his two sons, Don Jr. and Eric.
Now, a lawsuit is being filed against him by the attorney generals of Maryland and Washington D.C. on Monday alleging that because his business has accepted millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments since he took office, he has violated anti-corruption measures in the Constitution known as the emoluments clause.
This is the first time such a suit has been brought by government entities, according to news reports, which noted that a similar lawsuit was filed in January by an ethics group.
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) accuse Trump of having broken promises he made to keep his public duties and private business interests separate. They point to his son Eric saying that the President would continue to receive regular updates about the company’s financial health.
Racine and Frosh, who provided a copy of the lawsuit to The Washington Post on Sunday night, claim that Trump has committed “unprecedented constitutional violations”, and his continued ownership of an international businesses has caused him to be “deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors”, which undermine the integrity of the U.S. political system.
“This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government,” Frosh told The Post. “The emoluments clauses command that the president put the country first and not his own personal interest first.”
Should the lawsuit proceed, Trump’s personal tax returns could be subpoenaed in an effort to reveal more information about his foreign business dealings.
Racine and Frosh claim that unless Trump is forced to comply with the emoluments clause, Americans can never be sure that “underlying his travel ban, withdrawal from the Paris Accord climate deal or proposed tax cuts” that he is acting in the country’s best interest and not his own.
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