Democrats are wasting no time, filing legislation in the House and Senate that would require President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to divest personal and financial conflicts of interest. Trump has been mired in reports about his international business conflicts through his real estate dealings and the Trump Foundation.
The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017 was filed Monday morning by Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, and sponsored by Representative Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), and 81 other members of the House. Several members made it known that this bill was filed as a result of the president-elect’s potential conflicts of interest.
The only way for President-elect Trump to truly eliminate conflicts-of-interest is to divest his financial interests by placing them in a blind trust,” said Warren in a statement. “This has been the standard for previous presidents, and our bill makes clear the continuing expectation that President-elect Trump do the same.”
The bill includes a section that require an annual review on the financial interests of the President, Vice President, spouses of both, and the minor children of both. A special rule is included that mentions the President must submit his income tax returns to the Director of the Office Governmental Ethics within 30-days of enactment. Senator Ron Wyden’s Presidential Tax Transparency Act was folded into the bill, which would require a sitting president and presidential nominees of a major political party to make public federal income tax returns for the three most recent tax years.
Trump has more than a few assets. According to Forbes, the estimated value of Trump’s commercial properties totaled $1.3 billion in 2015, residential properties at $410 million, and additional $940 million for properties with which he had a partial stake. Trump previously told the FEC that his net worth is “in excess of ten billion dollars.”
The New York Times released a large investigation into the Chinese business dealings with Kushner Companies, the business owned by the family of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close advisor. Kushner is married to Ivanka Trump. The Times reported on Saturday that an executive meeting between Chinese insurance monolith and Waldorf Astoria owner, Anbang Insurance Group took place on Nov. 16 with Kushner.
Kushner will divest, but not sell his stake in 666 Fifth Avenue, a 41-story office building in Manhattan, and resign as CEO of Kushner Companies, according to the Times and a statement from Risa Heller, Kushner’s spokesperson. The building was bought for $1.8 billion by Kushner Companies in 2007.
Kushner was named Senior White House Advisor Monday morning, according to a senior transition official who spoke with NBC News and Axios.
Senate co-sponsors of the bill were: Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ben Cardin, Dianne Feinstein, Chris Coons, Dick Durbin, 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, Gary Peters, and Tammy Duckworth.