Sarbanes Joins Lawsuit Against Trump for Violating U.S. Constitution’s Anti-Corruption Clause

Nearly 200 Members of Congress File Suit to Stop Trump from Continuing to Accept Foreign Gifts and Payments
June 20, 2017
CONTACT: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) joined nearly 200 Members of Congress in filing a federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump for violating one of the Constitution’s key anti-corruption provisions: the Foreign Emoluments Clause. The emoluments clause prohibits the President from accepting foreign payments or gifts without seeking and receiving approval from Congress.

“Since he took the oath of office, President Trump has brazenly defied Constitutional rules put in place to prevent public corruption,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “By refusing to divest from his business assets and by continuing to accept gifts and payments from foreign governments through his businesses, it’s clear that President Trump is putting his personal earnings ahead of the interests of the American people. This lawsuit intends to hold President Trump accountable and to protect our nation from foreign influence.”

From the beginning of his Administration, President Trump’s embrace of Russia, pandering to Saudi Arabia and sudden weakness before China have raised urgent questions about his financial conflicts of interest. These questions have been compounded by President’s refusal to publicly release his tax returns. Since the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week, public reporting has revealed that President Trump has received additional foreign benefits – including new trademarks in China – and is brokering business deals in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf while regional tensions escalate.