Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Yorker -- Behind the Democrats’ Emoluments Lawsuit Against Trump

The Constitutions emolument clause states that “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them [the United States], 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.”

“The Emoluments Clause has apparently never been litigated, but it has been interpreted and enforced through a long series of opinions of the Attorneys General and by less-frequent opinions of the Comptrollers General. Congress has also exercised its power of "Consent" under the clause by enacting the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, which authorizes federal employees to accept foreign governmental benefits of various kinds in specific circumstances.”

President Donald Trump has declined to cut ties with his foreign business interests. “Foreign countries, which want to ingratiate themselves with the new President, have flocked to Trump’s businesses, especially to the Trump International Hotel, in Washington, D.C., creating a modern version of the problem that the Framers tried to address.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal has “joined forces with the Constitutional Accountability Center and became the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the President, last week, for violating the emoluments clause. Thirty other Senators and more than a hundred members of the House of Representatives, all Democrats, have joined as co-plaintiffs.”

The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin provides insight:

Senator Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, 
has become the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the President.
Photograph by Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call 
/ Getty

Behind the Democrats’ Emoluments Lawsuit Against Trump

By Jeffrey Toobin