The Campaign Legal Center, along with other watchdog groups and individuals, sent a letter calling on President-elect Donald Trump to alter his plan to have his children handle the Trump Organization business assets while he is president.
The letter encourages the president-elect to either place all business assets and investments into a genuine blind trust or the equivalent, or convert the Trump Organization businesses to cash and buy treasury bills and widely diversified mutual funds. “The failure to follow this course of action will create conflicts of interest of unprecedented magnitude,” the letter asserts.
The below statement can be attributed to Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center:
“The potential for conflicts of interest in this administration are unprecedented. For the last 40 years, every President has taken appropriate steps to address potential conflicts of interest arising from their financial portfolio, usually through divestment or the establishment of blind trusts.
The Trump Organization is a multi-billion dollar company with business interests around the world. Setting up a proper blind trust is a critical requirement to avoid conflicts of interest. Having Trump’s children run his business – while serving on his transition team – would not be meet this requirement.
Should President-elect Trump turn over the management of his business interests to his three adult children while retaining ownership, those conflicts will not go away. In fact, such an arrangement could endanger the President-elect. As owner of the business, he would remain legally liable for any violations of the law by his businesses.
Assets he has with foreign entities raise their own special set of questions and might be better handled with divestment. The best option for the President-elect is to enter into a genuine blind trust with control of the company in the hands of an independent Trustee with whom he and his family have had no business dealings. Failing that, he should sell his business to his children and establish a firewall regarding discussions of those interests during his Presidency.”
The following groups and individuals signed onto the letter:
- Gary D. Bass
- Campaign for Accountability
- Campaign Legal Center
- Center for American Progress
- Center for Media and Democracy
- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
- Common Cause
- Democracy 21
- Ambassador (ret.) Norm Eisen, chief White House ethics lawyer, 2009-2011
- Essential Information
- Issue One
- Thomas E. Mann
- Norman Ornstein
- Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer, 2005-2007
- People for the American Way
- Project on Government Oversight
- Public Citizen
- Sunlight Foundation