On January 23, 2017, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a lawsuit against Donald J. Trump to stop him from violating the Constitution by illegally receiving payments from foreign governments.

The foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution prohibits Trump from receiving anything of value from foreign governments, including foreign government-owned businesses, without the approval of Congress. Since Trump has refused to divest from his businesses, he is now getting cash and favors from foreign governments, through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad. Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and now that he is President, his company’s acceptance of any benefits from the governments of those countries violates the Constitution. When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman.

Update: On October 18, 2017, CREW and its co-plaintiffs presented their arguments before a Judge Daniels in the Southern District of New York. Judge Daniels later granted the Defendant’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs appealed the decision, and on April 24, 2018, filed a brief with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Lawsuit Documents