Senate Democrats called Thursday for President Donald Trump’s company to disclose significant more details about how it’s been operating since its owner became president.
In a letter to the Trump Organization’s new leadership, including the president’s adult sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, Sen. Patrick Leahy and 16 other Democrats also questioned whether their company remains “effectively a pass-through for income” that repeatedly puts the president in violation of the Constitution’s ban on accepting gifts or payments from foreign government officials or the U.S. government itself.
Citing a spate of recent media reports, the senators said Trump’s pre-inauguration pledge to extricate himself from his company didn’t square with his son Eric Trump’s recent statement that he’s giving his father business updates “probably quarterly.” They also challenged Trump over a trust arrangement he set up that allows him to take “net income or principle” from his trust whenever he wants.
“It defies common sense to believe that this type of arrangement resolves the President’s conflicts of interest,” the senators wrote. “It also raises serious questions regarding how such an arrangement could credibly insulate the President from unending Emoluments Clause violations.”
The Democrats posed a series of specific information requires to the Trump Organization. They want to know if it’s generating any income from federal or state governments or foreign governments, and if it is, the Democrats called on the company to say whether that money is separated and reported in a different account.
They also asked for a “complete accounting” of federal funds paid to the Trump Organization for space at Trump Tower or at the president’s golf courses to rent golf carts; and they pressed for an estimated value from the 38 Chinese trademarks that the Trump Organization recently obtained, as well as another 157 pending trademark applications in 36 countries detailed in a recent New York Times report.
As the minority party, Senate Democrats don’t have the power to compel the Trump Organization to answer its questions, and their letter asked only for a response “as soon as possible.”
Across the Capitol, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) earlier this month did obtain materials from the Trump Organization detailing its arrangement for identifying and donating profits to the Treasury Department that come from foreign officials who make payments to any of the president’s businesses. A spokeswoman for the committee said staff were “still reviewing the docs” and declined to answer follow-up questions about whether they’d be made public.
The Trump Organization and White House did not respond to requests for comment about the latest Senate Democratic letter.