The U.S. Justice Department has sought to put to rest an issue that has raised concerns since President Trump took office, concluding Friday that the president is not in violation of a constitutional emoluments clause for his businesses accepting foreign payments. The issue has sparked concerns from the very beginning of Trump’s election victory, with critics pointing to the high attendance by foreign diplomats at the Trump International Hotel ahead of his inauguration as a potential red flag and sign that foreign states may use his businesses to curry favor.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, had filed a lawsuit over the matter in January, alleging that Trump may be in violation of a constitutional clause barring emoluments because his real estate and hotels accept payments from foreign governments. The argument stems from a clause in the constitution that says the president cannot accept “any present, emolument, office, or title” from a foreign state.
But in a 70-page legal briefing released Friday, the Justice Department said foreign payments to Trump’s hotels and restaurants are legally permitted while he is president as long as they are at the market rate. Attorneys for the Justice Department argued that presidents dating back to George Washington would have been guilty of violating the clause if the plaintiffs’ arguments were valid. Read more at THE WASHINGTON POST.