Ya-Marie Sesay | Staff Writer
Donald Trump officially become the 45th President of the United States, but he cannot seem to let go of his strong ties within his company. A watchdog group called the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics is accusing President Trump of allegedly violating the Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments.
According to the lawsuit filed against him on Monday, a constitutional clause prevents the President from receiving money from diplomats for stays at his hotels, or foreign governments for leases of office space in his buildings. Trump called the lawsuit “without merit, totally without merit.”
“He’s a hustler honestly, but I don’t like him,” said Marcus Pearson, a junior kinesiology major from Virginia.
The Washington based group filed a complaint on Friday to the overseeing leasing company, General Services Administration. They argued the government owned building where Trump’s Washington hotel resides is allowing Trump, an elected official from benefitting from it, which is against the constitution. The GSA announced they will take action after President Trump has entered the White House, but have yet to make any comment in regards to the issue.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics group are represented by former White House chief ethics lawyers Norman Eisen and Richard Painter. Eisen and Painter advised the new president to sell his holdings and place the cash in a blind trust like former presidents. Trump refused, leading to the lawyers taking legal action.
Legal expert Edwin Williamson presumes there is not enough evidence to make the case a suit. Executive Director of CREW, Noah Bookbinder suspects otherwise. According to a conference report from ABC News earlier this month, Trump’s organizational lawyer Sheri Dillon the so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution isn’t meant to ban fair-value exchanges. They didn’t think “paying your hotel bill was an emolument,” she said.
President Donald Trump announced one month ago he will not sell ownership, but will offer management control of his companies to his sons. He will end all new international deals, and donate foreign government profits from leases to the U.S. treasury. This left many critics to believe its unprecedented conflicts with his business and presidency.
Government ethics experts state that foreign countries will use investments in his businesses to intervene in U.S. policy.
Michael Scott, a junior from Delaware shared his opinion on the topic. “I have an issue with it but if he’s putting it back into the treasury then it’s ok. My thing is that it’s highly unlikely than an foreign secretary, ambassador they know better than to go into a Trump business. I can trust him that the money that’s went into the Trump hotel will then go into the treasurer.”