Credo Action

Tell Congress: Join lawsuit against Trump bribes

Sign the petition

Petition to key U.S. representatives and senators:

"Join Blumenthal and Conyers v. Trump and ask the courts to hold Donald Trump accountable to the Constitution and require him to come to Congress and obtain its consent if he wants to accept benefits from foreign states. Compliance with the Constitution and opposition to corruption in government should not be partisan issues."

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    Tell Congress: Join lawsuit against Trump bribes

    This is big: Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. John Conyers and 194 other members of Congress have just sued Donald Trump for violating the Constitution.1

    The Constitution of the United State bans the person holding the office of president from receiving any gift, profit or advantage from a foreign government without congressional approval. Since seizing power, Trump has used his office to line his own pockets – and he never came to Congress for permission.2

    Blumenthal and Conyers v. Trump asks the courts to force Trump to follow the Constitution by either abandoning his profits or asking Congress for the OK.3

    Every single member of Congress – especially Republicans who love to brag on how they adore the Constitution – should be party to this lawsuit.

    Tell Congress: Join lawsuit against Trump bribes.

    Foreign diplomats have paid to stay in Trump hotels. Foreign governments have granted lucrative trademark deals. Big Trump projects magically received the green light to go ahead as soon as he took power. Trump is clearly profiting from being in office. There are also undoubtedly countless more benefits that we do not even know about, because no court has forced Trump to reveal his business interests.4

    Trump even promised to donate all revenue from foreign governments to the Department of the Treasury, practically admitting that not doing so would be unconstitutional. But of course, it was just another lie – the Trump Organization recently told lawmakers that tracking revenue from abroad is “impractical.”5

    This ban is so essential to preventing corruption that presidents for hundreds of years have requested permission for gifts as small as a medal or a few horses – President Obama even sought legal advice on whether he could accept the Nobel Peace Prize.6

    Democratic attorneys general in Maryland and D.C. recently sued Trump on the same grounds. But this suit is different because it comes from members of Congress, whom Trump should have come to for permission.7 Every member of Congress who cares about the Constitution should be party to this lawsuit. But it is up to us to make it clear that we are paying attention to who stands on the side of the rule of law.

    Tell Congress: Join lawsuit against Trump bribes.

    There is nothing partisan about upholding the Constitution. The founders included the “emoluments” clause of the Constitution precisely for this situation. An emolument is broadly defined as a gift, profit, advantage or benefit. There is nothing uncertain about the language of Article I, Section 9, Clause 8:

    “No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”8

    While there have been various resolutions and independent lawsuits over Trump’s violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, this one is different because it involves sitting members of Congress. Some 196 members of Congress, including Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. John Conyers, added their names to the lawsuit.9

    Any member of Congress who refuses to join is putting partisan loyalty or selfish fears of taking a stand ahead of the clear responsibility to uphold the law. We need to drive this message home and make sure no elected representative can hide from their responsibility.

    Tell Congress: Join lawsuit against Trump bribes.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Tom Hamburger and Karen Tumulty, “Congressional Democrats to file emoluments lawsuit against Trump,” The Washington Post, June 14, 2017.
    2. Russell Berman, “The Trump Organization Says It's 'Not Practical' to Comply With the Emoluments Clause,” The Atlantic, May 24, 2017.
    3. Hamburger and Tumulty, “Congressional Democrats to file emoluments lawsuit against Trump.”
    4. Constitutional Accountability Center, “Trump and the Foreign Emoluments Clause,” accessed June 14, 2017.
    5. Berman, “The Trump Organization Says It's 'Not Practical' to Comply With the Emoluments Clause.”
    6. Constitutional Accountability Center, “Trump and the Foreign Emoluments Clause.”
    7. Aaron Davis and Karen Tumulty, “D.C. and Maryland AGs: Trump ‘flagrantly violating’ emoluments clause ,” The Washington Post, June 12, 2017.
    8. "The United States Constitution, Article 1 Section 9", accessed June 13, 2017.
    9. Hamburger and Tumulty, “Congressional Democrats to file emoluments lawsuit against Trump.”