Federal judge tosses emoluments lawsuit against Trump

The then-President-elect Donald Trump speaking at a news conference addressing conflicts of interest at Trump Tower on January 11, 2017 in New York City. (Credit: Getty Images)
The then-President-elect Donald Trump speaking at a news conference addressing conflicts of interest at Trump Tower on January 11, 2017 in New York City. (Credit: Getty Images)

From TRD New York: A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit alleging that President Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution because his company’s hotels, office properties and restaurants do business with foreign governments while he sits at the head of the U.S. government.

The plaintiffs, government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), argued that because Trump’s company rents out hotel rooms and the ballrooms for embassy functions at its D.C. hotel, and also leases out space at Trump Tower in Manhattan to foreign entities, Trump was violating the clause in the U.S. Constitution that bars him from accepting gifts from foreign nations, according to the New York Times.

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However, Judge George Daniels dismissed the case because the plaintiffs could not demonstrate that businesses competing against Trump were being harmed due to specific actions his administration had taken. In other words, the plaintiffs lacked standing, Daniels ruled. He further ruled that the Constitution’s emoluments clauses were not designed to protect businesses from competing with other businesses owned by the president.

CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder told the Times in a statement that the ruling was “a setback” and they “will not walk away from this serious and ongoing constitutional violation.”

Two additional lawsuits that make similar accusations against Trump are still pending. [NYT] – Eddie Small

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