Rep. Adriano Espaillat Joins Federal Lawsuit Challenging President Trump’s Violation of Constitution’s Anti-Corruption Clause

June 21, 2017
Press Release
Nearly 200 House and Senate Democrats File Suit to Stop Trump Accepting Unconstitutional Foreign Emoluments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and 200 Members of Congress have filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump for violating one of the Constitution’s critical anti-corruption provisions: the Foreign Emoluments Clause.  The emoluments clause prohibits the President from accepting foreign payments without seeking and receiving Congressional authorization.

“The Constitution’s Emoluments Clause is a vital protection against foreign governments’ corrupting influence.” said Rep. Espaillat.  “The American people should have total confidence that the President is serving their interest, not his own financial enrichment. President Trump’s refusal to disclose or seek Congress’s authorization for his sprawling foreign financial interests is a brazen violation of the Constitution, and a danger to our democracy itself.  From this lawsuit to legislation, I will use every tool I have to hold this President accountable to the Constitution and to the American people.  In addition to joining my colleagues in filing this federal lawsuit, I have been pushing legislation, for months, which would amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to require the President to place any financial conflicts of interest into a genuine blind trust.”

From the beginning of his Administration, President Trump’s embrace of Russia, pandering to Saudi Arabia, and sudden weakness before China have raised urgent questions about his financial conflicts of interest. Since the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week, public reporting has revealed that President Trump has received additional foreign benefits – including new trademarks in China – and is brokering business deals in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf while regional tensions escalate.

The Emoluments Clause 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.”

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