WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) joined Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) along with 30 other House Democrats to introduce H. Con. Res. 5, a resolution urging President-elect Donald J. Trump to comply with the United States Constitution and sever ties with private business in order to avoid dangerous financial conflicts of interest.
“By allowing foreign governments to grant personal financial benefits directly to the President and to companies that his family owns, President-elect Trump is putting our democracy at risk. This is in blatant disregard for the Constitution and his ambivalence towards promptly addressing these troubling conflict of interest issues is a distraction from the important work that lies before us,” said Congressman Lynch. “Alexander Hamilton made it clear in the Federalist papers that a ‘weak side in republics, among their numerous advantages, is that, they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption.’ Thankfully, Hamilton and our other Founding Fathers had the sense more than two centuries ago to safeguard our democracy from corruption with the emoluments clause which prohibits the President from accepting personal financial gain from foreign governments. Hopefully, the President-elect will abide by the Constitution and place the office of the Presidency beyond such reproach.”
In particular, the Welch resolution “calls upon President-elect Donald J. Trump to follow the precedent established by prior presidents and convert his assets to simple, conflict-free holdings, adopt blind trusts managed by an independent trustee with no relationship to Donald J. Trump or his businesses, or take other equivalent measures, in order to ensure compliance with the Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution…” The resolution notes that if the President-elect does not address these conflicts before assuming office, Congress will consider the Trump organization’s business dealings with any entity owned by a foreign governmental actor as a potential violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
In addition to concerns about President-elect Trump’s potential violations of the Emoluments Clause, Congressman Lynch previously raised concerns about the Trump International Hotel lease, which specifically states that “no member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom…” Congressman Lynch supports a full investigation at the General Services Administration about how to best address these financial conflicts of interest to ensure there is transparency about the beneficiaries of the Trump International Hotel deal and whether there has been a breach of the lease.
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