November 28, 2016
The Honorable Jason Chaffetz
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
It has now been dual weeks given Ranking Member Cummings wrote to we requesting that a Oversight Committee immediately start reviewing President-elect Donald Trump’s financial arrangements in sequence to code and strengthen opposite conflicts of interest.
Although we have settled publicly that we will reason Mr. Trump to a same standards as President Obama and Secretary Clinton, we have not responded to Ranking Member Cummings’ letter, and we have not taken stairs to control simple slip of these rare challenges.
Since Ranking Member Cummings sent his letter, Americans opposite a nation have flooded a Committee’s offices with thousands of calls in clever support of this investigation, jamming a phone lines with some-more calls than we have ever perceived in response to any other issue.
At a same time, during this two-week period, discouraging new revelations about Mr. Trump’s actions ― as good as those of his family members and business associates ― have finished a need for strong congressional slip even some-more urgent.
For these reasons, we are now all essay to we in support of Ranking Member Cummings’ request, and we ask that a Oversight Committee start a work as shortly as possible.
President-Elect Trump’s Refusal to Acknowledge Bipartisan Concerns
Mr. Trump has exhibited a frightful turn of contempt for legitimate bipartisan concerns about his conflicts of interest. For example, during an talk with The New York Times, Mr. Trump stated, “The law’s totally on my side, a boss can’t have a dispute of interest.”
Of course, this matter is incorrect. Mr. Trump can ― and already does ― have apparent conflicts of seductiveness between his widespread tellurian business interests and his Constitutional obligations as president.
The applicable doubt is either he will follow a indication set by his predecessors to lessen these conflicts by liquidating his resources and fixation them in a blind trust. If he refuses, afterwards Congress contingency perform a possess responsibilities by closely examining a Constitutional and orthodox supplies that oversee Mr. Trump’s actions, final either his proceed meets these standards, and proposing suitable reforms to residence any problems we identify.
Unfortunately, Mr. Trump does not seem to be holding these concerns seriously. On Nov 21, 2016, he tweeted, “Prior to a choosing it was good famous that we have interests in properties all over a world. Only a curved media creates this a large deal!”
Again, this matter is clearly incorrect. The nation’s heading Republican and Democratic ethics scholars have called on Mr. Trump to place his financial land in a blind trust.
For example, a tip ethics counsels for former President George W. Bush, Richard Painter, and President Barack Obama, Norman Eisen, published an op-ed in The Washington Post titled, “Trump’s ‘Blind Trust’ is Neither Blind Nor Trustworthy.” They wrote:
Donald Trump contingency urgently rethink his devise to concede his children to run his businesses. As extreme as it competence seem to him, he should instead put all his conflict-generating resources in a loyal blind trust run by an eccentric trustee. The good of his possess administration, and that of a country, direct zero less.
Mr. Painter and Ambassador Eisen suggest that Mr. Trump “appoint an eccentric veteran keeper to take assign of liquidating and converting to money Trump business land by an initial open charity or leveraged buyout.” Second, they suggest that a deduction “be incited over to a keeper to be managed.” Third, they suggest that as prolonged as Mr. Trump’s children and their spouses are traffic with Mr. Trump’s business matters, “he should ask them to step divided from a transition organisation and a White House, and to not advise him or be concerned in any U.S. supervision affairs.”
Similarly, a organisation of 19 supervision burden experts and organizations called on Mr. Trump to place his resources into a blind trust. They wrote:
Contacts about a Trump businesses should be taboo between all other administration officials and people concerned in a businesses, including any of a children who say an ongoing impasse with a businesses. Except for personal communication with a boss or initial lady, such write calls and emails should be routed to a White House warn to make certain that a firewall is not breached.
Even The Wall Street Journal’s editorial house argued that “Mr. Trump’s best choice is to repay his seductiveness in a company.” In addition, a editorial house of The Salt Lake Tribune concluded with Ranking Member Cummings’ ask to control a severe review, writing: “that, if he wants anyone to take him seriously, is accurately what Chaffetz and his Oversight Committee should start scheming to do.”
Global Scope of President-Elect’s Conflicts of Interest
The range of Mr. Trump’s conflicts of seductiveness around a universe is unprecedented. Over a past dual weeks, new revelations have lifted vicious concerns about a intermingling of Mr. Trump’s businesses and his responsibilities as president.
For example, according to The Washington Post, during slightest 111 Trump companies have finished business in 18 opposite countries, including projects in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Panama. Mr. Trump has certified he has “a small dispute of interest” in Turkey since he has a “major, vital building in Istanbul.”
In addition, Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka ― who now serves on a transition organisation as she continues to lead Mr. Trump’s businesses ― reportedly participated in a assembly with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. According to Japan Today, “For a final 30 years, Donald Trump has attempted to negotiate deals with Japan.”
She also reportedly participated in a assembly with Indian business developers concerned in Trump Tower, a hotel in Pune, India that pays to use a Trump name. One of a developers, Kalpesh Mehta, reportedly “expressed compensation with a gait of Trump Organization’s India business and showed seductiveness in expanding it further.” Another developer, Sagar Chordia, posted cinema with Ivanka and Eric Trump and reliable to The New York Times that “they had discussed a enterprise to enhance a deals with a Trump family.”
Ivanka Trump also reportedly participated in a call between Mr. Trump and Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Nov 14, 2016. The Trump Organization reportedly has followed building an bureau building in Buenos Aires, though it was not finished before a permits expired.
In addition, it has been reported that when Mr. Trump spoke with British politician Nigel Farage, he lifted concerns about a impact that offshore breeze farms could have on a perspective from one of his golf courses in Scotland. When The New York Times asked Mr. Trump about this exchange, he certified that he “might have brought it up.”
It has also been reported that Mr. Trump’s classification filed a lawsuit during this duration opposite a District of Columbia to hedge internal skill taxes on his new Trump International Hotel in a former Post Office Building. Mr. Trump argues that a value of a skill is millions of dollars reduction than a central supervision assessment, nonetheless Mr. Trump told The New York Times that “occupancy during a hotel will be substantially a some-more profitable item now than it was before” and that his “brand is positively a hotter code that it was before.” In fact, approximately 100 unfamiliar diplomats met during this duration during a Trump International Hotel, that is now reportedly “the place to be seen.”
In addition, Mr. Trump will be obliged for appointing a control of a General Services Administration, who will have shortcoming to safeguard taxpayers are not being cheated by that lease. Procurement experts Steven Schooner and Daniel Gordon have warned:
The Post Office Pavilion franchise is between GSA ― whose director President-Elect Trump will designate ― and Trump’s company. It’s a casebook instance of both a entrance of a poignant dispute of seductiveness and an frightful intermingling of Trump’s central bureaucratic duties and his and his family’s personal financial interests.
As Mr. Schooner and Mr. Gordon noted, “Any reasonable chairman would worry about a undue pressures and a fundamental risk of bias that a supervision competence uncover to such a well-connected contractor.”
Request to Fulfill Our Constitutional Obligations
The discouraging examples cited above are usually those that have been reported publicly over a past dual weeks, and some-more are entrance to light by a hour. It is formidable to suppose a tangible series of conflicts of seductiveness that now exist around a universe and no doubt will means vicious ongoing problems if no movement is taken to lessen them now.
You have a management to launch a Committee investigation, and we are pursuit on we to use that energy now. You acted with rare coercion to reason “emergency” hearings and emanate mixed uneven subpoenas to examine Secretary Clinton before a election. We ask that that we uncover a same clarity of coercion now.
Mr. Trump’s refusal to recover his taxation earnings has already demonstrated a discouraging miss of clarity and accountability, creation it even some-more vicious that a Committee control severe slip right divided ― before he is sworn in as President.
When we were asked about this in August, we responded:
If you’re going to run and try to turn a boss of a United States, you’re going to have to open adult your kimono and uncover everything, your taxation returns, your medical records. You are going to only going to have to do that. It’s too important. … we guarantee you, we we don’t caring who is in a White House. My pursuit is not to be a cheerleader for a president. My pursuit is to reason them accountable and to yield that oversight. That’s what we do.
For these reasons, we ask that a Committee start this examination by mouth-watering officials designated by Mr. Trump for Committee Members to hear directly about their skeleton for safeguarding opposite conflicts of interest. We also ask that a Committee rigourously ask that Mr. Trump yield a Oversight Committee with copies of his taxation returns.
Thank we for your care of this request.