Ask Ethics Watchdog if Trump’s New Chinese Trademarks Run Afoul of Constitution & Anti-Bribery Laws After a ten year legal battle in Chinese courts, President Trump and the Trump Organization were recently granted thirty-eight valuable trademarks by the Chinese government.
BigNews.Biz - Mar 19,2017 - U.S. Senators Ask Ethics Watchdog if Trump’s New Chinese Trademarks Run Afoul of Constitution & Anti-Bribery Laws
WASHINGTON, DC – After a ten year legal battle in Chinese courts, President Trump and the Trump Organization were recently granted thirty-eight valuable trademarks by the Chinese government. Now, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), and sixteen of their colleagues are raising questions about whether the deal violates ethics laws or if the business interests of the President and his family could be influencing America’s foreign policy and trade interests.
The eighteen senators wrote a letter to the Office of Government Ethics asking for guidance on whether the award betrays ethics laws, policies, or established norms. The Senators also asked whether or not the government ethics watchdog was even consulted before the trademarks were sought or granted.
“We are alarmed that the awarding of valuable trademarks by the Chinese government to President Trump and the Trump Organization in exchange for favorable policy decisions may run afoul of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and federal anti-bribery laws,” the Senators wrote.
Unlike past Presidents, President Trump did not take the necessary steps to resolve his multitude of conflicts of interest and fully divest himself from his family business ventures.
The Trump Organization was awarded a trademark to market the Trump name for profit in China shortly after President Trump spoke with President Xi Jinping and affirmed the continuation of the United States’ One-China policy. President Trump had sought this designation for years to no avail, and it was only after winning the presidency that he was able to secure the lucrative trademark.
“These Chinese trademarks raise a red flag because they could be potentially worth hundreds of millions and the timing of them coincides with actions President Trump took that China looked favorably upon. The President of the United States must always put America’s interests first, not just as a slogan, but through action. Until the President actually fully divests himself from all these foreign business entanglements, this issue will continue to undermine his ability to lead,” said Reed.
In addition to Blumenthal and Reed, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Director Shaub,
We write to express concern over recent news that the Chinese government has awarded preliminary approval to President Donald J. Trump for 38 trademarks, 35 of which will be awarded to him personally, and to request your interpretation and advice regarding the applicability of federal anti-bribery laws to this award.
As you know, the President is exempt from 18 U.S.C. §§202-209, the federal conflict-of-interest statutes, although your office has previously recommended that the President should act as if bound