A Much-Needed Primer on the Emoluments Clause

What Is the Emoluments Clause?

White House, Emoluments Clause

Ethics experts believe that Donald Trump and his various business dealings in the US and abroad will test the nation’s conflict of interest laws like no other president before him.

The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution has played a particularly large role in the discussions of whether Trump would need to sell his company (which he did not do), set up a true blind trust (which he also did not do) or take other steps to ensure that he does not run afoul of the law.

But what is the Emoluments Clause? Watch this short video featuring Norm Eisen and Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyers under President Barack Obama and George W. Bush, respectively.


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Constitution (US Government / Wikimedia).

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2 responses to “A Much-Needed Primer on the Emoluments Clause”

  1. Jeff Grotke says:

    One source of conflict could be foreign governments buying time on the Apprentice, which he still has a stake in. A travel spot for Jamaica, for instance, would appear to be a violation.

  2. Jeff Grotke says:

    The Trump people are floating the idea that only persons directly damaged by these payments can sue on this issue, suggesting maybe hotels would be in line to do that, and nobody else. This misses the point of the rule. The rule is not intended to protect persons monetarily, it is intended to preserve a clean and honest presidency for the American people. Therefore, ANY American has standing to sue him, to seek an injunction to prevent him from taking these monies, and to seek an accounting and to relieve him of any monies that have been received. BTW, the Congress could also simply just grant him the permission.