Elizabeth Warren, Senate Dems Introduce Bill Targeting Trump’s Conflicts of Interest

A spotlight on the Emoluments Clause.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

Elizabeth Warren and other Senate Democrats have introduced a bill taking aim at President-Elect Donald Trump’s myriad financial conflicts of interest.

The bill, co-sponsored by Ben Cardin, Chris Coons, Dick Durbin, and Jeff Merkley, would require the president and vice president to “disclose and divest” any potential financial conflicts of interest. It follows a resolution passed by the Senate last month expressing its expectation that Trump sever his ties with his eponymous organization and honor the Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause.”

This obscure provision of the nation’s founding document stipulates that “no person holding any office of profit or trust” shall “accept of any present, emolument, office or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state.”

The Senate Dems’ bill would not only reinforce the Emoluments Clause, applying it explicitly to the president and vice president, but also require Trump’s appointees to recuse themselves from any matters involving his financial conflicts of interest as they appear before their respective agencies.

“The American people deserve to know that the President of the United States is working to do what’s best for the country—not using his office to do what’s best for himself and his businesses,” Warren said in a release Thursday. “The only way for President-elect Trump to truly eliminate conflicts-of-interest is to divest his financial interests and place them in a blind trust. This has been the standard for previous presidents, and our bill makes clear the continuing expectation that President-elect Trump do the same.”

Trump’s business dealings with foreign governments present a wide array of potential violations of the Emoluments Clause, from the Bank of China’s residence in Trump Tower, to the real estate mogul’s activities in Ireland and Uruguay. Trump said he would hand off the family business to his children using a blind trust. But as recently as Wednesday, three of Trump’s children attended a meeting of top tech executives.

“This is bigger than our president-elect. This is bigger than this moment,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of the House Oversight Committee. “This is about our democracy and the laws that go with it.”