A bipartisan group of organizations and government officials warned Donald Trump in a Monday letter that complete divestiture from his business interests is the only way he can avoid facing dire conflicts of interest and Emoluments Clause problems in the White House.
“As long as you retain ownership of The Trump Organization, you will ultimately be the financial beneficiary of business arrangements made by domestic and foreign interests who are seeking favorable treatment from your administration on policy matters,” the 29 signees, who include President Obama’s chief ethics lawyer Norm Eisen and five former Republican House members, wrote.
The letter acknowledges the steps the President-elect and his family took over the holiday period to address these glaring conflicts, such as announcing plans to shutter the Trump Foundation charity and terminating building projects underway in Brazil, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
Yet the signees insist that this is just window dressing that fails to address the primary conflict of owning a multinational organization while serving as commander in chief. Having his adult sons run the business, as Trump has said he will do, would leave these conflicts intact.
“Respectfully, you cannot serve the country as president and also own a world-wide business enterprise, without seriously damaging the presidency,” the letter reads.
Trump is expected to hold a press conference to lay out his plans for the Trump Organization on Jan. 11.
Read the full letter below.