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

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  • David Vance
Statement by Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

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.

“The Oversight Committee’s announcement is encouraging, but suggests that the Committee may be focused only on the tip of the emoluments iceberg—profits derived from payments by foreign governments to Trump hotels. Our Constitution’s foreign emoluments ban includes all payments, not just profits. And it isn’t limited to hotels, it includes foreign government payments to any and all of the many businesses owned by President Trump through the Trump Organization.

“To date the Committee, under outgoing Chair Jason Chaffetz, has shown no appetite for any oversight of the activities of the President, his Administration, his businesses or his charities. Of the 27 Committee and Subcommittee hearings held so far in the 115th Congress, none has addressed the current Administration’s significant ethical issues and conflicts of interest, despite near daily examples becoming publicized.  Common Cause hopes this Committee letter is just the beginning of a newfound commitment to doing its job of investigating the President’s conflicts and unconstitutional receipt of foreign emoluments. As we approach the 100-day mark of the Trump presidency, America needs ongoing and vigilant oversight by the Committee and Congress now more than ever.”