Washington, D.C. — A week ago, 196 members of Congress, including 30 senators and 166 representatives, joined together to bring President Donald Trump to court to prevent him from accepting benefits from foreign governments unless he receives Congress’ consent, as required by the U.S. Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. As the clause states, “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.” Liz Kennedy, Director of Democracy and Government Reform at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:
President Trump’s dangerous, unprecedented, and unconstitutional conflicts of interest endanger America’s national security and the integrity of our democracy and economy. The Constitution’s Emoluments Clause serves a clear anti-foreign corruption purpose: To keep federal officials’ interests aligned with the American people, they can’t accept foreign payments unless it’s done with the consent of the representatives of the American people. President Trump is violating the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign-state actors through his shady worldwide web of financial holdings.
Some may wrongly deride this strong step as a partisan effort, but it is a necessary action to defend the constitutional order of our country. We need every effort to preserve the integrity of our rule of law and to make sure the president adheres to our Constitution. Members of Congress have an independent responsibility to defend our Constitution as part of our structure of checks and balances. Americans deserve no less. This is not a drill.
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