Ever since Donald Trump was elected as the next President of the United States, the future of his Trump organization was under scrutiny. Trump owns a massive empire with undisclosed assets and revenue. The constitution of the United States requires the President of the United States to be free himself from all other revenue generated jobs. The emoluments clause specifically applies to the President so that foreign companies and governments can’t interfere in American politics. In the past, wealthy presidents have gone on record to create a blind trust to relinquish all ties with their business empire.
The President-elect has taken a new approach where he simply transfers decision-making powers to his sons Don and Eric instead of creating a blind trust. This has invoked concerns among the ethics experts who fear the worst. A lawyer for the Trump organization, Sheri.A. Dillon presented the conflict plan that will be imposed to alienate Trump from his business empire. Both the former White House ethics lawyers for Obama and George W. Bush commented that Trump’s plan is inadequate in every aspect.
The lawyer assured that Donald Trump will isolate himself from the management of the Trump organization for the benefit of the people. This is an absurd claim because stepping back is insufficient as it is required anyway. The lawyer quoted that the conflicts of interests laws are not applicable for the president or vice president. Trump is not required to isolate from his financial assets, but he is doing so anyway voluntarily. However, the emoluments clause is certainly applicable to the president. The founders wanted to make sure that foreign governments and organizations don’t meddle with the internal American politics by offering financial benefits to the president.
During the past four decades, presidents operating organizations created a blind trust agreement as they completely severed themselves from the business operations. The attorney of Trump organization said that it is not possible to un-know what Trump actually knows. She added that it is not possible to create a blind trust for operating businesses. This is true, but knowing information about the financial position of the company is bound to create conflicts of interest.
The various business and investments assets of Trump organization will be conveyed to a trust before January 20th. The trust agreement allows Trump to relinquish his management and leadership authority to his sons Eric, Donald Jr and Allan Weisselberg. An ethics adviser will become a part of the management team to ensure that future actions, transactions and deals raise no conflicts interest. Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka will resign from all positions held with the Trump organization.
In Trump’s case, it is truly impossible to divest his business totally. Also, it is impossible to avoid conflicts of interests because Trump organization receives numerous foreign payments. The cost of avoiding conflicts of interest becomes huge if the official is entrusted with the highest authority. As the lawyer pointed out, it is not practical to expect Donald Trump to dissolve his business completely for becoming the President.