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Common Cause Files Ethics Complaint Over State Department Promotion of Trump Mar-a-Lago Club

April 25, 2017

Today, Common Cause filed a complaint with the office of Government Ethics and the U.S. Department of State calling for an investigation into the latter’s publication of an article promoting Mar-a-Lago, which the article refers to as the ‘Winter White House’ owned and operated by President Trump as a private club. The ethics complaint concerns an article the State Department’s ShareAmerica website published profiling the history of the Trump property and describing the Palm Beach club—which doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 after his election—in glowing terms. The article was subsequently circulated by multiple U.S. embassies, including on the website of the U.S. Embassy in the United Kingdom and on the Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Albania. Federal ethics rules prohibit government employees from endorsing “any product, service or enterprise.”

Ethics thumbnail for issue buckets

House Oversight Committee’s Request of Trump Documents Encouraging but America Needs More

April 24, 2017

The House Oversight Committee has requested information from President Trump’s lawyer concerning the “implementation and timing of the Trump Organization’s announced plans to donate profits of foreign government payments to the U.S. Treasury.” The U.S. Constitution forbids government officers from receiving emoluments (gifts or money) from foreign governments and officials. The Trump Organization announced the plan in January but has offered no supporting materials to date.

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FCC Chairman Pai Abandoning Diversity Advisory Committee

April 24, 2017

It is unnecessary and harmful for Chairman Pai to replace the FCC's Diversity Advisory Committee, which for years drew on the expertise of diversity experts to generate valuable and vetted proposals to advance important diversity initiatives. Commission leadership from both parties too-often ignored that committee's proposals. But instead of reconstituting that committee and finally acting on its many extant recommendations, Chairman Pai has chosen to ignore it and create a new committee which will take months or longer to organize, meet, and come up with proposals. Given the Trump Administration’s track record of business friendly appointments, Pai is likely to select committee members who put corporate interests ahead of diversity. Shameful. It is decades beyond time for serious action to help minorities and women in media ownership. Pai's announcement is a serious step backwards.

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