Washington D.C.— Congressman Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and 195 House Democratic colleagues have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against President Trump alleging a serious violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. The lawsuit stems from multiple reports that the President is profiting from foreign officials staying at Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., in addition to entities owned by foreign states leasing space in Trump Tower in New York City. The Foreign Emoluments Clause in the Constitution provides that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
“By not completely and transparently divesting of his business interests prior to taking office, the President has created significant conflicts of interest that we believe violate the Constitution,” Congressman Engel said. “Foreign entities are staying or doing business at Trump properties as a means of building goodwill with the President and his family. Under this ‘pay to play’ culture, foreign governments are paying the Trump Organization to further their interests—potentially at the expense of the United States. Let’s be clear here: the Office of the President must not be for sale. Our Founding Fathers knew this, which is why they included the Foreign Emoluments Clause in the Constitution. No one should ever be allowed to buy influence in the White House, most especially if you represent a foreign entity. My Democratic colleagues in both the House and Senate understand and believe this fervently. That is why we have taken this important step.”
Please note this statement was originally published on June 21, 2017 by Congressman Engel’s House of Representative’s office and posted to this website no sooner than 72 hours after initial publication.