Donald Trump has been president for only three days and he’s already facing a major lawsuit for violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
An ethics group filed a federal lawsuit on Monday claiming President Trump is violating the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his business empire, CNN reported Monday.
The group of legal scholars, ethics lawyers, and money in politics experts are suing President Trump for his refusal to divest from his businesses and getting cash and favors from foreign governments in exchange for access to his administration.
The lawsuit by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, argues that the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution should bar Trump from receiving anything of value from foreign governments without congressional approval.
The Emoluments Clause states, “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them (i.e., 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.”
“We did not want to get to this point. It was our hope that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a news release Sunday.
A statement released by CREW Sunday reads:
“Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is bringing a federal lawsuit to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution by illegally receiving payments from foreign governments. The lawsuit will be filed in the Southern District of New York when the court opens at 9 AM on Monday.
“Since Trump refused to divest from his businesses, he is now getting cash and favors from foreign governments, through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad. Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and now that he is President, his company’s acceptance of any benefits from the governments of those countries violates the Constitution. When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman.”
The plaintiffs will not be seeking monetary damages. Instead, they are looking for something much more dangerous for Trump. They want access to his tax returns.
President Trump has been very crafty with putting his kids’ names on his business interests. However, as Politicus USA states, “if the CREW legal team, which includes Norman Eisen, Richard Painter, Erwin Chemerinsky, Laurence H. Tribe and Zephyr Teachout, and Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler PLLC, is successful, America will finally find out what it is that Donald Trump is hiding.