Stand with Sen. Warren: Make Trump Disclose and Divest

Excerpt from: CREDO Action

Trump likes to claim that, as president, he is exempt from federal conflict-of-interest law. But a government watchdog filed a lawsuit just days after the inauguration claiming that Trump is in violation of the Constitution.1

Trump owes nearly $1 billion in debt and has projects all over the world. The lawsuit from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) maintains that any payments to Trump from foreign entities violates the anti-bribery “emoluments” clause of the Constitution.2

A president using his power to enrich himself while indebted to foreign governments is not normal, and we cannot let Washington Democrats and the corporate media pretend it is. Sen. Warren has introduced a bill that would close federal law loopholes and force Trump to disclose and divest.3 We need to get behind her and make it clear that Donald Trump is putting America’s safety and security at risk in order to line his own pockets.

The director of the Office of Government Ethics described Donald Trump’s recently announced plan to hold on to his ownership of hundreds of businesses with billions in assets as “meaningless.”4 While the CREW lawsuit proceeds, we need to stand with Sen. Warren and push to close the loopholes in federal conflict-of-interest rules that exempt the president and vice president from many restrictions. Sen. Warren’s new bill would make it clear that Trump has to follow the rules – or else.5

The federal watchdog’s remarks on Trump’s plan has Republicans talking about investigating or defunding his office.6 It isn’t the first time. The very first act of the new Republican Congress was an attempt to gut a similar independent office covering Congress: the Office of Congressional Ethics. But under massive public pressure, Republicans changed course within 24 hours. This continuing scandal episode shows that Trump Republicans are desperate to make corruption easier – and extremely vulnerable to public outrage on this exact issue.

Every modern president has voluntarily chosen to follow conflict-of-interest rules – until now. Even though those rules exempt the president and vice president, past leaders of both parties have divested their financial interests or placed them in a blind trust.7 Trump merely intends to turn over day-to-day operations to his two sons while maintaining a financial stake in his business, which a bipartisan group of ethicists and good government groups has condemned.8

Sen. Warren’s new bill tackles Trump’s potential corruption on both fronts. It would close the loophole allowing the president, vice president and their families to avoid conflict-of-interest rules – forcing Trump to disclose and fully divest his financial interests. It also emphasizes that the anti-bribery “emoluments clause” of the Constitution applies directly to situations like this, where the president’s wealth is dependent upon pleasing foreign dictators.9 This bill makes it absolutely clear that Trump’s business ties put America at risk, so we need to get behind it in a big way.

CREDO members know that Donald Trump’s rhetoric about “draining the swamp” was just one more lie from a racist authoritarian desperate to gain power. As noted by Sen. Warren:

“Trump is not ‘draining the swamp.’ Nope, he’s inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door, and he’s turning them loose on our government and our economy.”10

But we need to make sure the gullible traditional corporate media outlets – and any struggling Americans who wanted to believe that someone would end Wall Street’s stranglehold on our democracy – realize the truth.

Let’s insist that Democrats resist Trump’s un-American agenda at every turn, put the spotlight on the way he is using government to enrich himself and his well-heeled friends and make sure Trump’s greed doesn’t put our security and safety at risk.

  • Stand with Sen. Warren. Make Trump disclose and divest by petitioning Congress to:
    “Ensure the safety and security of the United States by immediately passing a bill forcing the president, vice president and their families to divest all assets that create financial conflicts of interest and strengthening rules against executive branch corruption.”

Thank you for speaking out,

Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Kim Bellware and Cristian Farias, “President Trump Has Already Violated The Constitution, Lawsuit Claims,” The Huffington Post, Jan. 23, 2017.
Office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “Senate Democrats to Introduce Bill to Require President and Vice President to Fully Divest Personal Financial Conflicts of Interest,” Dec. 15, 2016.
Ben Brody and Caleb Melby, “Trump’s ‘Meaningless’ Ethics Plan Assailed by Watchdogs,” Bloomberg, Jan. 11, 2017.
Office of Sen. Warren, “Senate Democrats to Introduce Bill to Require President and Vice President to Fully Divest Personal Financial Conflicts of Interest.”
Steve Eder and Eric Lipton, “G.O.P. Lawmaker Hints at Investigating Ethics Chief Critical of Trump,” The New York Times, Jan. 13, 2017.
Jennifer Rubin, “Disclose and divest: How Congress can force Trump’s hand,” The Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2016.
Office of Sen. Warren, “Senate Democrats to Introduce Bill to Require President and Vice President to Fully Divest Personal Financial Conflicts of Interest.”
Sen. Warren, “Drain the Swamp, President-Elect Trump,” Nov. 17, 2016.

© 2017 CREDO. All rights reserved.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: