There are three lawsuits brought by various parties asserting President Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by continuing to own businesses that receive payments from foreign governments.
There was first a lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (later joined by private parties claiming direct economic harm from Trump-owned properties).
A second suit filed by the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland alleges that their jurisdictions have been harmed.
The third suit comes from nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress (mostly House members but also about two dozen senators) filed suit, claiming:
Because the Foreign Emoluments Clause requires the President to obtain “the Consent of the Congress” before accepting otherwise prohibited “Emolument[s],” Plaintiffs, as members of Congress, must have the opportunity to cast a binding vote that gives or withholds their “Consent” before the President accepts any such “Emolument.”
While the President’s businesses are only receiving payment for only services and goods, Hillary Clinton received massive funds from Saudia Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Russia and China for nothing in exchange other than it appears she did favors for them as Secretary of State.
Congress approved of Trump holding office with full knowledge he owned business that has foreign customers without any objections for this reason. They, in fact, consented to his businesses.
Chuck Grassley is arguing that if anyone should be under investigation for this violation, it’s Hillary Clinton, not President Trump.
Grassley wrote to multiple plaintiffs in the three Trump cases this week with documented evidence of the millions of dollars in foreign contributions that went to Hillary and Bill Clinton from foreign governments and entities connected to those governments.
Congress never consented to the foreign contributions to Hillary Clinton while she held office!
Washington Free Beacon reports:
The Emoluments Clause, 49 words in Article I of the Constitution, provides that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under [the United States], shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
Grassley also s that members of Congress should investigate “whether legislation may be necessary to force agencies to remedies when the Clause is violated,” and documented millions of dollars in foreign contributions to Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, from foreign governments and entities connected to those governments.
“The Office of Government Ethics has held in its advisory opinions that [employees who prepare joint tax returns with their spouses] would be considered to have derived financial or economic benefit from their spouses’ assets,” Grassley wrote. “They would also be charged with knowledge of their spouses’ assets. Since Secretary Clinton filed joint tax returns with her husband, she received a direct financial and economic benefit from his income.”
“Accordingly, based on the scope of the Clause outlined in your complaint, Secretary Clinton appears to have received emoluments that were not validated by congressional consent,” Grassley added.
The senator explicitly attacked litigants as being biased, ignoring some instances of government abuse and not others.
“The Clause must be enforced impartially, without regard for power, privilege, or party,” he wrote. “Selective efforts to enforce the Clause smack of partisan political bias. A fair examination of Secretary Clinton’s financial benefits from foreign government entities and instrumentalities, by your reasoning, plainly shows that those benefits implicate the Clause. Yet your complaint[s] raised none of these concerns.”
Examples of emoluments that Grassley offered from “Clinton joint tax returns” included: $500,000 from the Abu Dhabi Global Environment Data Initiative; $500,000 from a Russian government-aligned investment bank; and a $200,000 speech allegedly supported by the Chinese government.
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