When President Donald Trump decided to cede operational control, but not financial control, of his businesses, Walter Shaub, then the head of the Office of Government Ethics, described the move as “meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective.” In addition to Trump himself, members of the Trump family also appear to be benefiting directly and indirectly from the president’s public service. Indeed, Eric Trump claimed in 2017 that the Trump brand was “the hottest it has ever been.”
American Oversight has called for the U.S. government to turn off the spigot of public funds going to Trump businesses, to cease using Trump properties and services, and to issue guidance to all executive branch personnel that taxpayer dollars may not be spent at Trump properties or on purchases from businesses in which the First Family has a financial interest. If the president and his family cannot be persuaded to stop accepting public funds for private gain, the government can ensure taxpayer funds are no longer available.
American Oversight is also asking for federal, Florida and New York state law enforcement officials and prosecutors to investigate whether domestic and foreign interests have used Trump properties, including the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and the Trump National Doral, as conduits to bribe the administration to pursue favorable policies and award contracts.
It is important for the president’s actions to be investigated and publicized. American Oversight will be doing its part to ensure the American people are aware of the extent to which Mr. Trump is using the presidency for his and his family’s personal financial benefit.