06/20/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/20/2017 19:46
Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and 200 members of Congress have filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump for violating one of the Constitution's critical anti-corruption provisions: the Foreign Emoluments Clause. The clause prohibits the president from accepting foreign payments without seeking and receiving congressional authorization.
The Emoluments Clause provides that 'no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.'
'The Emoluments Clause is a vital protection against foreign governments' corrupting influence.' said Congresswoman Wilson. 'President Trump is not the first wealthy individual to serve as our nation's commander in chief, but he is the first to refuse to disclose his financial information. The American public deserves a president who places serving their interests above his own financial enrichment. President Trump's refusal to disclose or seek Congress's authorization for his sprawling foreign financial interests is a brazen violation of the Constitution, and endangers our democracy. I will use every tool I have to hold him accountable to the Constitution and to the American people.'
From the start of his administration, President Trump has embraced Russia and pandered to Saudi Arabia and China, which has raised urgent questions about his financial conflicts of interest. Since the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week, public reporting has revealed that President Trump has received additional foreign benefits - including new trademarks in China - and is brokering business deals in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf while regional tensions escalate.