While the Russia scandal dominates the headlines, 196 Congressional Democrats are suing Trump to get him to comply with the Emoluments Clause.
The complaint states that Trump is knowingly violating the Constitution:
Despite this constitutional mandate, Defendant has chosen to accept numerous benefits from foreign states without first seeking or obtaining congressional approval. Indeed, he
has taken the position that the Foreign Emoluments Clause does not require him to obtain such approval before accepting benefits arising out of exchanges between foreign states and his businesses. Because Defendant has failed to come to Congress and seek its consent for at least some foreign emoluments that have been the subject of public reporting, it is impossible to know whether Defendant has also accepted, or plans to accept, other foreign emoluments that have not yet been made public. By accepting these benefits from foreign states without first seeking or obtaining congressional approval, Defendant has thwarted the transparency that the “Consent of the Congress” provision was designed to provide.
Moreover, by accepting these benefits from foreign states without first seeking or obtaining congressional approval, Defendant has also denied Plaintiffs the opportunity to give or
withhold their “Consent” to his acceptance of individual emoluments and has injured them in their roles as members of Congress.
To redress that injury, Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief establishing that Defendant violates the Constitution when he accepts any monetary or nonmonetary benefit—any “present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever”—from a foreign state without first obtaining “the Consent of the Congress.” Plaintiffs also seek injunctive relief ordering Defendant not to
accept any such benefits from a foreign state without first obtaining “the Consent of the Congress.”
What makes the case interesting is that the members of Congress appear to have legal standing due to the Consent of the Congress clause. That means that the lawsuit is unlikely to be thrown out on the basis of legal standing.
The point of this lawsuit is to get the President Of The United States to comply with the Constitution.
The country is rightly focused on the Russia scandal, but there is a second scandal that has been brewing ever since Trump refused to separate himself from his businesses. Donald Trump is trying to use the presidency for personal gain, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the scandal that had the most immediate legal consequences were the one related to the Emoluments Clause, not Russia.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association