Press Release

November 22, 2016
Cardin to Introduce Senate Resolution Asking Trump to Ensure Foreign Dealings do not Violate U.S. Constitution
Senator cites Constitution's language recognizing inherent danger of foreign financial influence

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and a senior Member of the Senate Finance Committee, announced today he will introduce a resolution next week stating the sense of Congress that President-elect Trump should convert his assets to simple, conflict-free holdings, adopt blind trusts, or take other equivalent measures, in order to ensure compliance with the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The resolution will note that in the absence of such actions by the President-elect before he assumes office or specific authorization by Congress, Congress will regard dealings by Trump-owned companies with any entity owned by a foreign government as potential violations of the Constitution. It will also give the President the opportunity to affirmatively prove his dealings are arms-length transactions, where all parties are independent and on an equal footing.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], 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.”

“The Founding Fathers were clear in their belief that any federal office holder of the United States must never be put in a position where they can be monetarily or otherwise influenced by a foreign governmental actor.  This resolution is intended to prevent a crisis or any misunderstanding regarding the consistency of the President’s actions with the U.S. Constitution.  Unless he takes appropriate action, Mr. Trump’s many international financial interests pose a great risk of violating the Constitution once he assumes the Presidency of the United States,” Senator Cardin said. “In the two months before President-elect Trump’s inauguration, he should provide the American people with clarity and certainty that he will in no way, shape, or form use the office of the President to advance his substantial personal fortune.”

A new CNN/ORC poll out today shows that nearly 60 percent of the American people do not think Mr. Trump’s thus-far stated intentions for his personal business go far enough. Additionally, the President-elect’s aides would not answer direct questions from the media today about whether Mr. Trump is still involved in his business.