Donald Trump’s Worst Conflicts Of Interests As President
As Donald Trump’s fourth month of presidency limps to a close, more attention is being paid to his conflicts of interest.
So far the Commander in Chief has been able to lamely talk his way around these conflicts, but there is growing pressure to make Trump take the necessary steps to distance himself from his businesses while in office.
At the request of two Democrats — Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland — the Government Accountability Office is reviewing the conduct of Trump’s transition to the presidency.
Since we aren’t holding our breath that action will be taken, here’s a rundown of Trumpy’s worst conflicts of interest.
Dakota Access Pipeline And Earnings To Be Made!
Within three days of taking the highest office in the land, Trump signed an executive order reviving the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Where’s the conflict, you ask? According to Trump’s Public Financial Disclosure Report, he has investments valued between $500,000 and $1 million in Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, whose subsidiary, Dakota Access, just happens to be building the four-state oil pipeline.
Trump International And A Hotel DC Lease Violation
The Trump Organization leases the Old Post Office Building in Washington, DC from the General Services Administration of the US government for Trump International Hotel. As both landlord and tenant of this building, Trump is in direct violation of the lease, which bars any federal employee from benefitting from contracts with the government. Meanwhile, Trump hotel has already been pitched to foreign diplomats as a great place to stay in order to “build ties with the current administration.”
Foreign Holdings (Yes, That Includes Russia)
As of mid-2016, Trump had investments & owned companies in over 20 countries. Richard Painter, President Bush’s former chief ethics lawyer, says this puts him in direct violation of the US Constitution’s emolument clause. “I don’t see how the Electoral College can vote for someone to become president who’s going to be in violation of the Constitution on Day 1, and hasn’t assured us he’s not in violation,” Painter said.
National Labor Relations Board And A Violation Of the Worker’s Union
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in November that Trump International Hotel Las Vegas — which Trump just happens to co-own — was in violation of the law by refusing to negotiate with a hotel worker’s union. The NLRB is in an unprecedented situation — how are they supposed to rule on disputes that will affect the president’s business?
40 Wall Street And Various Criminal Charges
Golden capital letters announce 40 Wall Street as THE TRUMP BUILDING. According to a Bloomberg valuation, 40 Wall St. is Trump’s most valuable property. Since Trump Organization took over 40 Wall St. in 1995, prosecutors have filed criminal charges against at least 29 people and 9 firms in the building.
The FCC Is Not A Friend Of Consumer Protections
President Trump’s new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai is not a fan of consumer protections. As the head of the FCC, he’s already introduced a plan to roll back Net Neutrality rules. Net Neutrality is good for consumers and small business, but multi-billion dollar companies like Comcast and AT&T would benefit “hugely” by getting rid of Net Neutrality.
The Secret Service Is Paying Trump To Be President
The Secret Service pays to travel with all presidential nominees. It’s standard practice for the agency to reimburse presidential campaigns for the cost of traveling with the candidates. But for Trump, one of his companies (TAG Air, Inc.), owns the plane they traveled on, so the government is effectively paying Trump directly. “The taxpayers are actually reimbursing Trump for the travel of the Secret Service agents,” said campaign finance lawyer Brett Kappel.
China And Trademark Approvals That Make No Sense
On the very same day Ivanka Trump sat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping at a dinner at Mar-a-Lago, the Chinese government just happened to approve three new trademarks for Ivanka’s merchandise in China. Ethics experts caution that Ivanka is not able to separate business from politics in her new advisory position at the White House.
UK Golf Courses And A Post-Brexit Headache
Trump owns two large golf courses in Scotland and one in Ireland. Former chief ethics advisor Richard Painter said Trump was “obviously very, very interested financially and emotionally” in his golf courses, which could affect the US position on a post-Brexit trade deal. Painter said there was a clear risk Trump could attempt to promote the interests of his golf resorts. This was especially glaring since Trump used an interview to promote his Turnberry resort, saying it was “doing unbelievably.”
Turkey And Trump International Licensing Partnerships
In 2008, Trump entered a licensing partnership with Turkish conglomerate Dogan Holdings, to build two residential and business towers in Istanbul’s financial district. Relations between Dogan Holdings and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan have been fraught with conflict for many years now. This precarious relationship between Prime Minister Erdogan and the Dogan group means Trump would have a direct conflict between his own business interests and his relationship with a US ally.
Saudi Arabia And A Play To Do Business
During Trump’s 16 month campaign, the Trump Organization registered eight new companies in Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich gulf state is notorious for human-rights abuses. Despite claiming Hillary Clinton accepted charitable donations from Saudi Arabia as a way to curry favor, Trump actively pursued business with Saudi developers.
Ireland (Yes, The Entire Country)
While visiting the family’s Irish resorts, Eric Trump promises President Trump will be good to Ireland. “He always loved it, he loved the warmth, the loved the atmosphere, he loves Ireland in general. From a big picture standpoint, Ireland will have no better ally in the world than America, it has always been that way, but now even more so,” Eric opined.
Stocks (And There Are A Lot Of Them)
Trump regularly singles out specific companies for criticism on Twitter, causing price swings of these company’s stocks. Since Trump has never provided a list of investments, who’s to say he’s not profiting off his Twitter meltdowns? He could easily make money off the buying & selling of these stocks during his tweetstorms.
Japan And Government Owned Businesses In The Country
After a lovely dinner with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, we found out Ivanka Trump was in the midst of negotiating a deal with a company backed by a Japanese government-owned development bank. Ivanka was negotiating a deal to sell products with Japanese retailer Sanei International, whose parent company is entirely owned by the Japanese government.
Argentina (A Renewed Development Deal Out Of The Blue)
Argentinian broadcast La Nación claimed that on a phone call with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Trump asked him to push through a Trump Tower project in Buenos Aires. Three days after the phone call between Trump and Macri, Trump’s associates at the YY Development Group Buenos Aires announced the construction project would go ahead — despite being held up for the past two years.
Canada And A Growing Hotel Dynasty
The Trump Organization has two hotels in Canada — one in Toronto and one in Vancouver. Eric called Vancouver an “amazing city befitting of the Trump brand.” Interestingly enough, Trump Hotel was the first hotel to open in Vancouver in three years. Don’t worry, (polite Canadian) protestors were there to keep them humble.
Taiwan And More Questionable Real Estate Deals
In September, a woman claiming to be an envoy for the Trump Organization discussed potential real estate developments in Taiwan with the mayor of Taoyuan. Shortly after his election, Trump broke with over forty years of the “one-China policy” by taking a “courtesy” phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Indonesia, Trump Resorts, And Mining Operations
Despite promising on the campaign trail there would be “no new deals” while he was in office, Trump’s companies are plowing ahead who two very large Indonesian resorts. In addition, Carl Icahn, one of Trump’s top advisors, is looking to extend a mining contract with the Indonesian government.
Deutsche Bank And A Huge Settlement Deal
One of Trump’s major lenders on his real estate projects is Deutsche Bank. During the campaign, Deutsche Bank failed to negotiate lowering a $14 billion dollar fine. Interestingly enough, Deutsche Bank settled the mortgage bonds case for $7.2bn in late December 2016. This, of course, was AFTER Trump was elected president.
The Philippines And A Special Trade Envoy To Benefit The Trumps
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appointed real estate magnate Jose E.B. Antonio as a special trade envoy to the U.S. Who is Antonio? He’s the man building Trump Tower Manila. The website for the project still has a promotional video featuring President Trump. In the video, Trump says, “It’s really great working with Century Properties and the Antonio family… Trump Tower Manila is going to be something special.”
India And A “True Friend” To Trump International
Shortly before getting elected, Trump said: “The Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House.” Indeed, just a few weeks after Trump won the presidency, some of his Indian business partners flew to the US specifically to congratulate Trump and discuss upcoming US-India relations.
The Dominican Republic And A Revived Project
Again, despite his campaign promise of “no new deals” while in the White House, the Trump Organization revived a dead project in the Dominican Republic. The developers of a beachfront community crowed, “It was excellent to receive Eric Trump again… This relationship remains incredibly strong, especially with Eric, who has led the project since its inception. ”
Brazil and Beachfront Property
A beachfront Rio de Janeiro Trump Hotel was the subject of a federal inquiry. Two Brazilian pension funds invested heavily in the proposed project. Amidst allegations of bribery & a threatened investigation into corruption in Brazilian pension funds, the Trump Organization quietly canceled the project in December.
Trump spokeswoman Christine Lin said, “The decision was made because the project was behind schedule.” Surprisingly, Lin refused to answer any follow-up questions on whether the investigation prompted the decision. NY Times
Despite these many, many conflicts of interest, Trump and his family continue to dodge the consequences of breaking the law while earning hundreds of millions of dollars.
For the Trumps, it certainly pays to be in charge of this Red State Disaster!