WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has joined more than two-hundred of her colleagues in Congress in filing a lawsuit against President Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“When a president acts as though he is above the law, our democracy is deeply shaken and our country slides toward autocracy,” said Rep. Jayapal. “Since the day he took office, President Trump has repeatedly violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause by profiting from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. This pattern of behavior, like so much from this administration, is shocking and disturbing. Stymied from playing our constitutional oversight role by Republicans, we must seek accountability in the courts.
“The Constitution is clear,” Jayapal continued. “It was written to prevent abuses of power, and I am confident that justice will prevail over the president’s flagrant lawbreaking.”
The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution states that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
President Trump’s businesses have benefitted from investments made by foreign governments in Trump properties.
In January 2017, a lobbying firm working for Saudi Arabia spent $270,000 on rooms and other expenses at President Trump’s Washington hotel after Inauguration Day. Last month, Trump made Saudi Arabia the first country he visited as president and completely ignored their human rights violations.
Since Trump became president, the Chinese government swiftly granted preliminary approval of 38 new trademarks worth millions to Trump and one of his companies. President Trump has gone soft compared to previous rhetoric about China and reversed course on a campaign promise to label China a “currency manipulator.”
Currently, President Trump has conflicts of interest in at least twenty-five countries.
The Constitution requires the President to seek and obtain the consent of Congress before he accepts any foreign emoluments. By failing to go to Congress and seek its consent as the Constitution requires, Members of Congress are denied the opportunity to cast a binding vote that either gives or withholds their consent to his acceptance of these emoluments. The denial of that voting opportunity injures them within the meaning of Article III of the Constitution.