Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trump's `Business Separation' Plan Does Nothing of the Kind // Painter // NY Times

Donald Trump with son Eric

NYU Law Professor Daniel Shaviro observes "There are three ways a president can make money through his businesses, absent a blind trust.

One is to shape government policies, procurement decisions, et cetera, to favor his businesses. A second is to get business from others who seek to curry favor (the emoluments issue). A third is to have the businesses act on inside information about impending news before it becomes public."

That is why Professor Richard Painter concludes

Trump's `Business Separation' Plan Does Nothing of the Kind // Painter // NY Times
by Prof. Richard Painter  (White House  Ethics Counsel to George W. Bush)

On Wednesday, President-elect Donald J. Trump finally announced his plans to “separate” himself from his global business empire when he assumes the presidency next Friday. His plans were announced in the midst of worrisome news around the world, including renewed terrorist attacks in the Middle East, rising tensions in the South China Sea and Mr. Trump’s belated admission that the Russian government had conducted espionage activities inside the United States.
This was his moment to announce a plan to separate himself from ownership interest in his global business empire. It was his final chance to disclose the identity of, and unwind his relationships with, his business partners and creditors around the globe.
The plan Mr. Trump announced on Wednesday does none of these things. As expected, he continues to refuse to release his tax returns, even though many of his cabinet nominees will have to disclose theirs in order to get confirmed by senators skeptical of, among other things, foreign business entanglements. He also did not announce a divestment of ownership interest in his businesses, even though this is a step that his own cabinet appointees will have to take in order to comply with a federal conflict of interest law.
Instead, Mr. Trump will simply turn management of the businesses over to a trustee chosen by him, and to two of his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. This is not a separation at all, and from a conflict of interest vantage point, it won’t work.

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