This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: He speaks, I get paid

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by Trump, delivered a speech at Trump International Hotel

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published September 30, 2017 6:30AM (EDT)

 (Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)

Remember when Americans were urged to accept Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court judge, despite the questionable methods used by Senate Republicans in order to nominated him, because Gorsuch would most likely avoid being in Trump's pocket?

About that . . .

Justice Neil Gorsuch delivers a speech at Trump International Hotel

On Thursday Gorsuch delivered an address that urged conservatives to "cherish the din of democracy" by encouraging a culture of free speech, according to USA Today. While that's a fine sentiment, Gorsuch delivered that speech at the Trump International Hotel in Washington to The Fund for American Studies, which supports "the principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership."

One would think that a group which includes "honorable leadership" in its mission statement would avoid being perceived as enriching the president's family and, quite possibly, the president himself.

Trump nominates a businessman for the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors who has a financial conflict of interest

Say what you will about Trump, but he doesn't merely have his own conflicts of interest — he empowers other businessmen who, like him, have conflicts of their own. Take Kenneth W. Allen, a former executive at Armstrong Energy coal company, whose nomination was announced by Trump on Thursday. As a recent article by ThinkProgress explained:

TVA has been a longtime customer of Armstrong, and still currently purchases coal from the company. And, according to public filings, Allen is still receiving payments from his former employer on the basis of the amount of coal mined and sold from various Armstrong-owned properties.

Trump allows businessman with an interest in lowering taxes to meet with his top advisers about tax reform

"We understand as entrepreneurs that being in business means that you are partners with the government. We want to make the partnership mutually beneficial and closer," said Julio Gonzalez, CEO of The Gonzalez Family Office, in a meeting with top White House economic advisers. We know this because they bragged about it in a press release, and one of the companies owned by The Gonzalez Family Office is Engineered Tax Services, which "provides specialty engineering federal tax credit studies in real estate and technology."


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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