The Constitution has been clear for centuries on prohibiting presidents from enriching themselves. But that isn’t stopping the Trump Organization.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was revealed that the Trump administration wasn’t properly tracking payments foreign governments made to its businesses, like the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. This is despite Trump promising prior to his inauguration that all payments made by foreign governments to any of his real estate properties would be donated to the U.S. Treasury.
However, in an eight-page document sent in response to the House Oversight Committee asking about the tracking of payments from foreign governments, the Trump Organization’s attorneys stated that while all money identified as coming from other governments would be set aside to be tracked, it would be “impractical” to audit each payment to see whether or not it would violate the Constitution’s Title of Nobility Clause (also known as the Emoluments Clause).
“To fully and completely identify all patronage at our Properties by customer type is impractical in the service industry and putting forth a policy that requires all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand,” the pamphlet sent to members of Congress read.
That explanation didn’t sit right with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), the ranking member of the committee, who said the current arrangement raises “grave concerns about the president’s refusal to comply with the Constitution,” adding that foreign government payments “would not be tracked in any way and would be hidden from the American public.”
The Emoluments Clause doesn’t allow much room for leeway, stating explicitly that without Congressional consent, a president cannot accept any gifts or payments from foreign leaders without being in violation of the United States’ founding document:
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
Tom Cahill is a senior editor for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook by clicking here.