Trump building 'wall' around business to avoid conflicts of interest

- President-elect Donald Trump is building a wall — to avoid conflicts of interest while president. However, some ethics lawyers say the “wall” doesn’t go high enough.

Trump and his attorney announced the plan at a press conference Wednesday morning. The highlights:

   • Trump’s sons will take over running the company, and the assets will go into a trust.
   • Trump’s company will make no deals with foreign entities while he is President.
   • Domestic deals will be approved by an “ethics advisor.”
   • Foreign profits to Trump’s hotels and golf courses will go to the U.S. Treasury in an attempt to satisfy the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president receiving profits from foreign governments.
   • Trump’s knowledge of his business dealings will be limited to profits and losses.

While some republicans offered support for the plan, it also met criticism. Walter Schaub, the head of the Office of Government Ethics, called the plan “meaningless.”

Richard Painter, the former ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, told Fox 9 he was “disappointed by the plan.”

“The key is whether he divests ownership of the business,” Painter said. “If he does not divest ownership of the business, he’s going to have all of the conflicts of interest that come with ownership. It doesn’t matter who runs the business.”

Not all conflict-of-interest laws apply to the president, but critics express concerns Trump’s massive global empire could influence his decisions. And most ethics attorneys believe the Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the accepting of profits from foreign governments, does apply to the president.
 


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