September 16, 2019
President Donald Trump has never been one “to look a gift horse in the mouth”—but now, his avarice may have consequences. On September 13, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that a lawsuit accusing the POTUS of violating the Emoluments Clause— Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution—could proceed after a lower court had thrown out the case.
Specifically, the clause “prohibits any person holding a government office from accepting any present, emolument, office, or title from any King, Prince, or foreign State, without congressional consent. Its purpose is to prevent external influence and corruption of American officers by foreign states
According to a report by The Hill, a panel of judges with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which alleged that the president violated the constitutional clause by refusing to put his business assets in a blind trust while in office and profiting off the presidency.
But the case had been dismissed by a lower court in December 2017.
CREW welcomed the reinstatement of the case: “If President Trump would like to avoid the case going further and curtail the serious harms caused by his unconstitutional conduct, now would be a good time to divest from his businesses and end his violations of the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution,” Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.
And CREW is just one of the many watchdog organizations that have raised concerns about the president’s decision not to put his company in a blind trust, according to The Hill.
Indeed, several of his actions in recent weeks seem to have been geared to generate profits for his properties—among them, his talk of hosting the next G7 meeting at his Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami; his “suggestion” that Vice President Pence stay at his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland; and his deal with the USAF to do pricey refuels at the nearby airport and layovers at TrumpTurnberry.
Multiple lawsuits have alleged Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause , but none has gone to court until the September 13 decision cleared the way.
“I got sued on a thing called emoluments. Emoluments. You ever hear of the word? Nobody ever heard of it before,” Trump said at a speech in Pennsylvania last month. “And what it is is presidential harassment, because [the presidency] is costing me a fortune, and I love it.”
Chances are, he’ll be familiar with the Emoluments Clause soon.
Research contact: @thehill