Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has called on committee chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to begin a review of President-Elect Donald Trump’s business ties.
In a letter to Chaffetz, Cummings noted that Trump’s stated plan to put his assets in a blind trust run by his children, who also currently serve as advisers on his transition team, “is certainly not a ‘blind trust.’”
The review of Trump’s financial arrangements, Cummings wrote, would “ensure that our government operates effectively and efficiently and combats even the perception of corruption or abuse.”
Trump has one of the largest portfolios of any President-elect in American history, including hotels and golf courses, licensing deals and various other projects, many of which have benefitted handsomely from federal tax breaks. Much of Trump’s business debt is held by banks in foreign countries, an additional complication.
Two weeks before Election Day, USA Today reported that at least 75 lawsuits involving Trump and his businesses remained active, including multiple class-action suits by former students of the Trump University wealth seminar program.
If Trump’s White House deals with his business interests like his presidential campaign did, Cummings’ concerns wouldn’t be unwarranted: Politico reported in September that the President-elect’s campaign had benefitted his family’s businesses to the tune of $8.2 million.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a vice chair on Trump’s transition team, said putting Trump’s business in a true blind trust would be unfair to his children.
“You would be putting them out of work,” he said.