Great news: Now we’ll get to talk about the Emoluments Clause!

Great news: Now we’ll get to talk about the Emoluments Clause!
Credit: MarketWatch

[Ed. – If you don’t enjoy these visits to long-unventilated corners of the Constitution, you have no soul.]

All fantasies of stopping Trump in the electoral college are goofy, but this one at least offers a reason beyond the usual variations of “I don’t like Trump.”

To refresh your memory, the Emoluments Clause prevents any federal officer from accepting “emoluments,” i.e. compensation for business services, from a foreign government without the consent of Congress. It doesn’t apply to business with private actors, which means many of Trump’s financial conflicts of interest are beyond the scope of the Clause. (Statutes related to bribery may pose a problem there, though.) But he does do business with some foreign governments — for instance, the state-owned Bank of China is a tenant in Trump Tower and a lender for a building in Manhattan in which Trump has a partnership interest. The big bucks flowing into the Trump International Hotel in Washington from diplomats eager to seek favor with the new president are also being provided by foreign governments. If he’s already in violation of the Emoluments Clause, argues former Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter in the clip, why would the electoral college rubber-stamp his victory by voting for him next month? …

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