Donald J. Trump owns a large, interconnected web of businesses throughout the world. When it became clear that he would be the next President of the United States, ethics experts from past Republican and Democratic presidential administrations as well as the Office of Government Ethics, called upon Mr. Trump to divest his businesses to avoid violating the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the United States Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause provides:
“The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”
This provision, which is not waivable by Congress, prohibits any state from providing additional sources of income to the President.
The purpose of the emoluments clauses is to ensure that the President is not swayed or biased by gifts or other financial inducements to prefer one state over another in carrying out his duties as President of the United States. These clauses were included in the Constitution because of the real threat that even small gifts or favors may create an imperceptible bias, and the dangers of having a President with divided loyalties is as clear now as it was at the time of the drafting.
Unfortunately, not only did Mr. Trump refuse to divest his holdings in the Trump Organization, but he created a revocable trust, administered by one of his sons and a long-time business associate, that allows him to access funds from the organization at any time. One of the businesses that Mr. Trump is continuing to profit from is the Trump SoHo hotel in New York City. Due to their investments in a real estate fund known as CIM Fund III, CalPERS and the New York State Retirement Fund are now paying millions to the fund manager in quarterly performance and management fees that risk being funneled directly to Trump International Hotels Management, LLC for managing and marketing the Trump SoHo.
CalPERS and the New York State Comptroller have an obligation to their beneficiaries to manage their investments in accordance with the laws of the United States and to the highest ethical standards. Today, we’ve filed letters with the New York State Comptroller and CalPERS respectfully requesting that they work with other pension fund investors in CIM Fund III to demand that CIM Fund III sell the Trump SoHo property and terminate its relationship with the Trump Organization based on the Trump Organization’s ongoing participation in a corruption scheme that violates the Constitution; or, alternatively, that CalPERS and the New York State Comptroller divest from CIM Fund III.
Join the call to keep your pension dollars out of Trump’s pockets by signing the petition calling on CalPERS and the New York State Common Retirement Fund to Divest Trump SoHo.
Want to learn more about this campaign?
- Download a PDF of our July 19, 2017 letter to the NY State Comptroller
- Download a PDF of our July 19, 2017 letter to CalPERS
- Download a PDF of FAQ’s from our NY campaign
- Download a PDF of FAQ’s from our CA Campaign
- Reuters, “Campaign urges U.S. public pension funds to divest from owner of Trump hotel”
 U.S. Const., art. II, § 1, cl. 7 (emphasis added) (also known as the Presidential Compensation Clause).