Business ethics rules Trump can and cannot be accountable for - Politics | PoFo

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NPR wrote:For Trump Presidency, Old Ethics Laws Meet New Money-Making Methods


President-elect Donald Trump's type of wealth — based largely on the value of his brand name and on global real estate holdings — doesn't fit well with existing ethics laws, which were written for an earlier time when rich politicos mainly invested in stocks and bonds.

To be clear, some ethics laws do apply to the incoming president.

"He's still subject to bribery laws, he's subject to the STOCK Act, which prohibits insider trading," says Larry Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, which supports anti-corruption laws.

What doesn't apply to presidents is the federal conflict-of-interest law. So for example, Trump can own a golf resort while he also shapes the tax, environmental and labor laws that could affect his golf profits.

Noble says Trump could follow the example of other presidents and voluntarily put his holdings into a blind trust. On Fox News earlier this month, Trump said he would give control of his holdings to his children, but that's a less-than-blind arrangement.

Now, you may be wondering why there isn't a conflicts law for the president. One argument is that such a law would violate the Constitution. Congress cannot pass a law that restricts a president's decision-making authority. In 1989, a presidential commission was assigned to set ethics standards for all federal officials.

But with the Constitution's separation of powers "we quickly came to the conclusion that that was not possible, for both constitutional and practical reasons," says ethics attorney Jan Baran, was served on the commission.

So there are conflict-of-interest rules for most government employees. But not the president.

And there's another problem with the ethics laws.

They were written to cover 20th century wealth, which typically came from stocks and bonds — paper that could be turned over to a trust.

But Trump derives much of his fortune from his name, which he licenses on properties all over the world.

That's not uncommon these days. Think of Oprah, or Ralph Lauren. That kind of wealth can't be put into a blind trust.

Baran says new laws are not needed for this kind of wealth. Presidents just need to do the right thing.

"It will require presidents going forward to figure out how to impose rules on themselves," he says.

But Norm Eisen, a clean-government advocate at the Brookings Institution, says the best approach lies in a clause that's already in the Constitution: the emoluments clause.

Basically, it says government officials cannot take gifts, or emoluments, from foreign officials. Eisen says the founding fathers left room for an expansive interpretation.

"We capture with the very broad language intangible things like the value of Mr Trump's name," he explains.

Democrats will be pushing for this new interpretation when Congress comes back in January.
How can any politician even enter into this discussion? The average politician dramatically increases his wealth based upon his name during and after he is in office. Do we need to revisit Bill and Hillary's speaking fees? Studies long ago demonstrated a person of Trump's wealth has lost interest in wealth for wealth's sake. Wealth now means power. He will be the most powerful person on earth. Whether or not that increases his wealth is meaningless.
I'm not so concerned about Trump himself directly... I am very concerned with his friends and partners. He is surrounding himself with businesspeople (CEO of Exxon? Like that won't have conflict of interests) who definitely have an agenda for after his presidency.
Yes, I have some concerns about his cabinet also. I don't see how they can be anti globalist by any stretch, but it was foolhardy to hope for that anyway. Big business seems to have done very well under all administrations from Bill Clinton forward.
One Degree wrote:Big business seems to have done very well under all administrations from Bill Clinton forward.

Considering instituting the Interstate Commerce Clause was one of the main reasons for the Constitutional Convention, aside from the more justifiable en masse fears of European powers playing states against each-other and us winding up puppet states, *from George Washington forward ;)

There was a slight slide in the direction of reining them in under FDR, but this was out of necessity in preserving the capitalist economic system from its own excesses.
*from George Washington forward ;)

I am not sure I would go that far, but I will concede to at least the railroad barons of the 1800's, since you mentioned the FDR exception. :) Before that, most of the country could ignore them.
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