Suit Says President Profits From Business Deals With Foreign Governments
All four Democratic members of Congress from New Mexico are part of a lawsuit against President Donald Trump that cites the Emoluments Clause, a section of the U.S. Constitution that went relatively unnoticed until Trump took office without divesting himself from his businesses.
Nearly 200 Democrats signed onto the legislation that says Trump is violating the constitution by profiting from his businesses’ deals with foreign governments.
The clause says, “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, announced the suit on a conference call to reporters earlier this week. Blumenthal, the ranking member of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, are lead plaintiffs on the suit.
The New Mexico members involved are U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Lujan. No Republican is part of the suit.
Whether the Democrats will prove they have standing in the suit is an open question. The suit argues the members have standing because of a the provision of the Emoluments Clause mentioning consent.
Some legal analysts question who would have standing to bring a suit against the president citing the clause. In order to bring a suit, plaintiffs must prove injury.
According to the suit, Trump never sought consent from Congress, which makes it “impossible to know whether [Trump] has also accepted, or plans to accept, other foreign emoluments that have not yet been made public.”
By not seeking consent from Congress, Trump also denied the body its ability to deny the consent.
This is not the only lawsuit Trump faces over the Emoluments Clause. The state of Maryland and District of Columbia filed a suit against Trump citing the clause earlier this week.
And a lawsuit from private businesses filed earlier cites Trump’s ownership of a hotel in Washington D.C. as an unfair advantage as foreign officials book rooms to curry favor with the president.
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