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07/31/2017

Brianne Gorod on the Domestic Emoluments Clause
Michael Ramsey

Brianne J. Gorod at Take Care Blog: New White Paper on Trump and the Domestic Emoluments Clause. From the introduction:

Six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, the legal troubles faced by this President and his Administration appear to be growing on a daily basis.  While much of the current focus is, quite reasonably, on dealings between Trump’s campaign and his businesses and foreign governments, no one should forget that dealings between Trump’s businesses and governments here at home also raise serious legal questions.

As others and I discuss in a new white paper released today, the Domestic Emoluments Clause—which prohibits the President from receiving any “emolument” from “the United States, or any of them,” other than his fixed compensation from the federal government—is a critically important provision in our Constitution.  And its implications for Trump and his businesses are significant.

When the Framers drafted the Constitution, they were deeply concerned about the corrosive and destructive effects that corruption could have on the young nation.  On one hand, the Framers were concerned with foreign nations and how they might try to meddle in the nation’s internal affairs—hence, their adoption of the Foreign Emoluments Clause and its prohibition on federal officials accepting benefits from foreign governments without first obtaining the consent of Congress.  On the other, they were also deeply worried about corrupting forces within the nation itself.  And with good reason: their experience under British rule had taught them how leaders could be tempted to put their own interests above the interests of the people they were supposed to serve.