Durbin, Duckworth introduce bill to require financial divestiture by president, VP

 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin, Tammy Duckworth  and other Democratic members of Congress, introduced the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017 in the United States Senate and House that would require the president and vice president to disclose and divest any potential financial conflicts of interest.

The bill also would require presidential appointees to recuse themselves from any specific matters involving the president’s financial conflicts of interest that come before their agencies.

“With Inauguration Day fast approaching, the American people are still waiting to hear what steps President-elect Trump will take to guard against conflicts of interest and corruption in his Administration,” said Durbin, of Illinois. “I urge the president-elect to honor his promise to sever ties with his businesses while he is in office, letting the American people know with certainty that he is putting America first. If he fails to do so, we must address these unprecedented financial entanglements through legislation to protect U.S. interests.”

“It should never be a question whether the president and the vice president of the United States are doing what’s best for themselves or what’s best for the American people. That’s why I am co-introducing the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017 to ensure every presidential administration meets what have been the strongest ethical standards for decades. Government officials must do everything in their power to eliminate conflicts of interest because the American people-not personal profit-always come first,” said Duckworth.

Original co-sponsors of this legislation in the Senate included Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ben Cardin, Dianne Feinstein, Chris Coons, Jeff Merkley, Patrick Leahy, Patty Murray, Ron Wyden, Jack Reed, Debbie Stabenow, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Amy Klobuchar, Sheldon Whitehouse, Michael Bennet, Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Franken, Richard Blumenthal, Tammy Baldwin, Edward J. Markey, Cory Booker, and Gary Peters.

The members have consistently asked for more transparency and accountability from President-elect Trump. In November, Democratic senators filed a Resolution stating the Senate’s expectation that President-elect Trump needs to decisively and transparently divest all of his business interests and holdings and completely sever his affiliation with the Trump Organization to avoid any actual or perceived conflicts with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits the president from accepting gifts or benefits from foreign governmental actors.

The original co-sponsors of this legislation in the House included Representatives Katherine Clark, John Conyers, Richard Neal, Elijah Cummings, Peter Welch, and David Cicilline.

A fact sheet is available here.

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