Today, Free Speech For People joined reform groups in a letter sent today to Senators, urging them to support and co-sponsor legislation introduced today by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and other Senators, that would require President-elect Trump to divest his business enterprises. (See below for a full list of the signers of the letter.)
As this morning’s press release states, “The bill would require presidents, vice presidents, their spouses, and minor or dependent children to divest all assets that create potential conflicts of interest into a blind trust. The trust would be managed by an independent trustee who would oversee the sale of assets and place the proceeds in conflict-free holdings,” according to the letter.
The letter stated: “We believe that the only way for President-elect Trump to solve the problems he faces is to divest his business enterprises into a blind trust managed by an independent trustee, or the equivalent. As long as President-elect Trump continues to maintain ownership of his business enterprises, no other steps he takes will prevent the serious conflicts of interest, appearance of conflicts and Emoluments Clause problems that will exist throughout his presidency.”
The letter said: “If President-elect Trump maintains his business enterprises, domestic interests and foreign individuals, companies, banks and governments involved in business activities with The Trump Organization will potentially be providing financial benefits and profits that directly inure to the president of the United States. These interests may also have policy issues pending before the Trump administration. President Trump’s own business interests also may influence the policy decisions he and his administration make.”
The letter concluded: “Ethics and conflict of interest rules and norms are not partisan or ideological issues. They are safeguards to protect the integrity of public officials and government actions, and the interests of the American people. In order to protect the integrity and credibility of the presidency, we urge you to support and cosponsor the Warren bill.”
To read the text of the letter, click here.
Full List of Co-Signers
Ambassador (ret.) Norm Eisen, chief White House ethics lawyer, 2009-2011
Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer, 2005-2007
Center for American Progress
Center for Popular Democracy
Free Speech for People
Friends of the Earth
League of Women Voters
Main Street Alliance
People For the American Way