Before President Donald Trump took office he said any profits his company’s engaging in foreign business dealings would be donated to the U.S. Treasury. The goal? Avoiding any appearance of conflict of interested based on the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
Now, the Trump Organization is telling Congress that determining what money is coming from foreign governments is more trouble than it’s worth.
The House Oversight Committee made a request to Trump’s companies demanding to know how the money would be tracked. In response, Trump’s leadership sent a copy of an eight-page pamphlet detailing how it plans to track payments it receives from foreign governments at the firm’s many hotels, golf courses, and restaurants across the globe.
While the Trump Organization said it would set aside all money it collects from customers that identify themselves as representing a foreign government, it has so far refused any effort to determine if a payment would violate the Constitution’s prohibition on public office holders accepting an “emolument” from a foreign state.
Here’s what the Trump Organization had to say:
“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 was distributed by the company’s chief compliance officer. They claim the pamphlet was sent to general managers and senior officials at all of the company’s properties.
Grave Concerns Raised By Trump International
Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrats on the Oversight Committee, was not happy with Trump’s approach. He says the policy “raised grave concerns about the president’s refusal to comply with the Constitution.”
In a reply to the company’s letter Cummings said it would be easy for Russian and other countries to funnel money to the Trump Organization through unofficial entities. “Those payments would not be tracked in any way and would be hidden from the American public,” he wrote.
Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who joined Cummings in the original request for documents did not offer the same type of response, instead stating that he would resign from Congress at the end of June.
Cummings has provided Donald Trump with two alternatives. The first would be to fully divest from his businesses and the second would be to submit a proposal to Congress with a different arrangement.
No Plans To Divest
President Trump has made it clear that he has no plans to divest his business holdings. The President put his eldest children in charge of the Trump Organization but continues to hold regular meetings with his offspring.
The Trump clan have also continued to use taxpayer money to travel the world as they represent Trump International in Russia, the Middle East, and various other locations all over the world.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.