How Trump Can Avoid the Ethical Tar Pit–58gH.,b58
For us at Judicial Watch, however, it’s business as usual. As corrupt as the Obama administration has been, we are under no illusion that a new broom sweeps entirely clean. Even before he takes the oath of office, President-elect Trump is under pressure over the potential conflicts of interest related to his sprawling Trump Organization.
By way of background, the ethics rules covering government officials are designed to punish successful businessmen like Trump. But as the relevant law doesn’t apply to Trump, some (mostly from the Left) are trying to pressure him to destroy his company completely in order to eliminate alleged conflicts of interest.
In a tweet on Monday, [Trump] promised without elaborating that “no new deals will be done” by his business while he is president. This sounds interesting. Americans should expect that the new president will take reasonable steps to separate his public office from his personal business. But it would be unfair to insist that Mr. Trump destroy his business to become president. This would create a dangerous precedent that would, in effect, deter those who had succeeded in their private lives from bringing their substantial skills to the public arena.
Given the potential for conflicts, it makes sense for the American people to demand assurances that the public interest won’t be harmed by the continued operation of Trump Inc. So, what to do?
First, let’s not pretend that the Trump children will not be conflicted in running the company for their father. That is why Mr. Trump should formalize his complete separation from his company and stop working on any aspect of his business. He should draw no pay. And, difficult as it may be, he should vow not to discuss any aspect of the Trump business empire with his children — or any other Trump executive.
Mr. Trump and those at the company’s helm should commit to full transparency by making public any contracts with any federal agency, foreign government or foreign corporation. Our nation’s enemies, and some of our friends, will seek to either curry favor with or damage America through the Trump businesses. By providing full transparency, Mr. Trump and his family can show that they take seriously that, as Mr. Trump has tweeted, it is “visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”
It would be in the company’s best interest to set up an internal watchdog to help develop procedures that could help avoid conflicts.
The Constitution’s Emoluments Clause bars the president from earning any compensation from a foreign government. Mr. Trump ought to consider a partial disinvestment from his company by either selling outright or rejecting the proceeds of any stakes with foreign government partners.
He should refuse any third party contributions to his personal foundation.
Above all, the Trump administration should be completely transparent on any government dealings with the Trump empire.
If Mr. Trump recognizes the public interest in transparency and accountability – and follows through – it would be a remarkable change of pace from business as usual in Washington, DC.
SOURCE-JUDICIAL WATCH, Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, NYT,