This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: What was the president-elect doing this week to possibly make himself rich?

His properties are making money. The American public? Who cares!

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 25, 2016 8:25PM (EST)


Because Donald Trump hasn't released his tax returns, it's impossible to know the extent of the conflicts-of-interest that could impede his ability to executive his presidential responsibilities in good faith. Nevertheless, even this comparatively brief list of his real and potential financial conflicts is quite sobering.

I mean, it's not like Trump tried to tweet promotions of businesses during his campaign that have literally just been discredited in a court of law?

Oh right...

Donald Trump's children are promoting their brands during presidential events

As The Huffington Post explains, conflict of interest regulations do not apply to the president, although previous presidents have voluntarily abided by them in the name of demonstrating good faith to the public. Trump, on the other hand, has entrusted his business empire to three of his children, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka. While he refers to their control as a "blind trust," the very fact that they're his children precludes the possibility of this arrangement meeting that term's definition, particularly considering that they're also set to be among his closest advisers. For instance, his children are set to benefit from any business that those Trump properties which he saw fit to advertise on his taxpayer-subsidized presidential transition website.

Diplomats are staying at Trump's hotel in DC so they can curry favor with him

The Trump International Hotel in Washington DC exists because Trump was given the right to lease the Old Post Office building in 2012. As a result, Trump could influence the terms on which it is leased to the president based on who he appoints to run the General Services Administration. More troublingly, there are already reports that foreign diplomats have taken reservations at this hotel in order to get on the president-elect's good side. This could be construed as a violation of the emoluments clause -- the only conflict of interest law that does apply to the president — which bars foreign interests from lavishing money or gifts on the commander-in-chief in order to buy influence.

Donald Trump has a personal reason to fight a labor dispute among Las Vegas workers

The Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas is currently in the middle of a labor dispute with the culinary workers union. Because the National Labor Relations Board is appointed by the president, Trump could use that power to appoint officials who will rule in a way amenable to his business interests.

The bank that loaned him a lot of money is in the middle of a settlement with the Department of Justice

This German bank is the biggest lender to Trump's business empire. It is also currently working on a settlement with the Department of Justice because of "toxic" mortgages that it sold during the housing crisis. As of September, the expectation was that a $14 billion fine would be levied against the bank. Trump, however, has approximately $360 million in loans from this bank tied to properties in Florida, Chicago, and Washington.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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