Trump hotels, resorts at center of new lawsuit against the President
Attorney General Karl Racine (D) of the District of Columbia and Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) of Maryland filed a lawsuit against President Trump Monday alleging the President is in Constitutional violation of anti-corruption clauses by accepting profits from foreign entities through his vast network of businesses while in office.
The lawsuit claims that “President Trump’s continued ownership interest in a global business empire, which renders him deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors, violates the Constitution and calls into question the rule of law and the integrity of the country’s political system.” While the suit casts a wide shadow over the entirety of the President’s “global business empire,” there is particular focus on hotels and resorts either owned by the Trump Organization or that bear the Trump name.
Specifically, the suit claims that President Trump is in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause that prohibits the office of the president from accepting payments from foreign governments without Congress’ consent.
In a press conference today, D.C.’s Attorney General Karl Racine said that the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. is just one example of Trump’s properties that are “entangled with foreign and state business,” citing payments to the hotel by “foreign governments in order to curry favour with the President of the United States.” The suit not only refers to Trump’s D.C. hotel but also cites his worldwide network of hotels, resorts, and golf courses as targets of the litigation.
Before assuming office in January, President Trump handed over control of the Trump Organization to his sons and other company executives, yet he remains financially invested in the company and is said to receive regular financial updates on his businesses.
Next, a federal judge will determine whether or not the case will be allowed to proceed. If permission is granted to the Attorney Generals, they say one of the first steps will be to request copies of the President’s tax returns in order to asses the extent of foreign business entanglements or profits, and this matter is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.