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BLUMENTHAL & CONYERS FILE AMICUS BRIEF SUPPORTING CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON

Aug 11, 2017
Blumenthal and Conyers are the lead plaintiffs in Congressional action to hold President Trump accountable for violations of the Constitution’s anti-corruption Foreign Emoluments Clause

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) filed an amicus brief today in support of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s (CREW) effort to hold President Trump accountable for his ongoing violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause. Blumenthal and Conyers are the lead plaintiffs in a separate effort to compel the President to comply with the Constitution’ critically important anti-corruption measure. 

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Trump International Hotel has already turned a $1.97 million profit in 2017. Those profits include payments from foreign governments which have housed their officials in rooms or hosted events at the hotel.

“The payments from foreign governments that President Trump’s hotel is raking in are just one example of how President Trump is thumbing his nose at the Constitution and the American people. The immense magnitude of President Trump's vast business empire is no excuse for his disregard for the Constitution and disrespect for the American people. No one – not even the President – is above the law,” said Blumenthal. 
“The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause is clear. Federal officials, including the President, cannot accept benefits of any kind from foreign states unless Congress consents.  President Trump, however, continues to violate this key anti-corruption provision, which was meant to ensure that the Nation’s leaders put the national interest above their personal interests,” said Conyers. 

The full text of the lawmakers’ amicus brief is available here

Blumenthal and Conyers are the lead plaintiffs in Blumenthal, Conyers, et al. v. Trump, the lawsuit brought by nearly 200 members of Congress against President Trump for his violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause requires that all elected officials, including the president, seek the “Consent of the Congress” before receiving any gifts, payments, or benefits from foreign governments. The Constitution’s Framers included such a requirement to protect against foreign influence on U.S. officials, and to ensure that those officials act in the national interest, instead of their own. 

Because President Trump has refused to disclose his business dealings abroad, the full scope of his potential Constitutional violations is unknown. Independent reporting has shown that President Trump has received the following foreign emoluments during his presidency among others:

·         Payments from foreign governments housing their officials in rooms or hosting events at Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel after Inauguration Day;

·         Entities owned by foreign states paying rent at Trump Tower in New York City; and

·         The Chinese government granting forty trademarks to the Trump Organization.

While President Trump continues to accept benefits from foreign governments, Congress has no choice but to seek a remedy through the courts. 

The full list of plaintiffs who have joined this case is available here. A Congressional Research Service analysis of suits by members of Congress found no larger action.

115th Congress