Credo Action

Stand with Sen. Warren: Make Trump disclose and divest

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Petition to Congress:

"Ensure the safety and security of the United States by immediately passing a bill forcing the president, vice president and their families to divest all assets that create financial conflicts of interest and strengthening rules against executive branch corruption."

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    Stand with Sen. Warren: Make Trump disclose and divest

    “Meaningless.” That’s how the director of the Office of Government Ethics described Donald Trump’s recently announced plan to hold on to his business and ownership in hundreds of businesses with billions in assets and more than $600 million in debt.1 It is now more important than ever to get behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the group of senate Democrats who have introduced a powerful new presidential conflicts of interest bill.2

    With Trump’s deep business ties to foreign governments and businesses, he will be in violation of the Constitution’s rules against bribery on his first day in office. But federal conflict-of-interest rules contain a glaring loophole exempting the president and vice president from many restrictions. Sen. Warren’s new bill would make it clear that Trump has to follow the rules – or else.3

    A president using his power to enrich himself while indebted to foreign governments is not normal, and we cannot let Washington Democrats and the corporate media pretend it is. We need to get behind leaders like Sen. Warren and make it clear that Donald Trump is putting America’s safety and security at risk in order to line his own pockets.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Make Trump disclose and divest.

    The federal watchdog’s remarks on Trump’s plan has Republicans talking about investigating or defunding his office.4 It isn’t the first time. The very first act of the new Republican Congress was an attempt to gut a similar independent office covering Congress, the Office of Congressional Ethics. But under massive public pressure, Republicans changed course within 24 hours. The whole episode was evidence that Trump Republicans are desperate to make corruption easier – and extremely vulnerable to public outrage on this exact issue.

    Every modern president has voluntarily chosen to follow conflict-of-interest rules – until now. Even though those rules exempt the president and vice president, past leaders of both parties have divested their financial interests or placed them in a blind trust.5 Trump merely intends to turn over day-to-day operations to his two sons while maintaining a financial stake in his business, which a bipartisan group of ethicists and good government groups has condemned.6

    Trump’s refusal to disclose and divest shows that he is intent on enriching himself and his Wall Street friends at the expense of Americans who struggle to make ends meet. This is the type of cronyism and corruption that conflict-of-interest rules are designed to prevent. Worse, his deep business ties to global financiers and the likes of China, Russia, Libya and Turkey put us all at risk. Trump has every incentive to make foreign policy decisions that benefit himself while putting American lives at risk.

    Sen. Warren’s new bill tackles Trump’s potential corruption on both fronts. It would close the loophole allowing the president, vice president and their families to avoid conflict-of-interest rules – forcing Trump to disclose and fully divest his financial interests. It also emphasizes that the anti-bribery “emoluments clause” of the Constitution applies directly to situations like this, where the president’s wealth is dependent upon pleasing foreign dictators.7 This bill makes it absolutely clear that Trump’s business ties put America at risk, so we need to get behind it in a big way.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Make Trump disclose and divest.

    CREDO members know that Donald Trump’s rhetoric about “draining the swamp” was just one more lie from a racist authoritarian desperate to gain power. As noted by Sen. Warren:

    “Trump is not ‘draining the swamp.’ Nope, he’s inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door, and he’s turning them loose on our government and our economy.”8

    But we need to make sure the gullible traditional corporate media outlets – and any struggling Americans who wanted to believe that someone would end Wall Street’s stranglehold on our democracy – realize the truth.

    Let’s insist that Democrats resist Trump’s un-American agenda at every turn, put the spotlight on the way he is using government to enrich himself and his well-heeled friends and make sure Trump’s greed doesn't put our security and safety at risk.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Make Trump disclose and divest.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Ben Brody and Caleb Melby, "Trump’s ‘Meaningless’ Ethics Plan Assailed by Watchdogs," Bloomberg, Jan. 11, 2017.
    2. Elana Schor, “Democratic bill would end Trump's conflict-of-interest exemptions,” Politico, Jan 9, 2017.
    3. Office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “Senate Democrats to Introduce Bill to Require President and Vice President to Fully Divest Personal Financial Conflicts of Interest,” Dec. 15, 2016.
    4. Steve Eder and Eric Lipton, "G.O.P. Lawmaker Hints at Investigating Ethics Chief Critical of Trump," The New York Times, Jan. 13, 2017.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Jennifer Rubin, “Disclose and divest: How Congress can force Trump’s hand,” The Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2016.
    7. Office of Sen. Warren, “Senate Democrats to Introduce Bill to Require President and Vice President to Fully Divest Personal Financial Conflicts of Interest.”
    8. Sen. Warren, “Drain the Swamp, President-Elect Trump,” Nov. 17, 2016.