'An Astonishing rate of corruption': Trump has amassed 3,000 conflicts of interest since taking office
The government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington announced Friday that after more than three years of monitoring President Donald Trump's conduct, the president has hit a milestone, amassing more than 3,000 conflicts of interest between his businesses and his position in office.
The findings come from a CREW report detailing improper relationships between Trump, his business empire, and those trying to influence public policy—including lobbyists, foreign governments, and members of Congress.
CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder called the milestone "disgraceful."
"Every one of the more than 3,000 conflicts of interest that President Trump has incurred through his businesses raises new questions about whether he is making decisions in the interest of the American people or his own bottom line," said Bookbinder in a statement. "Not only does he appear to be profiting from the presidency daily, but he is constantly facing new temptations to use his office for his own benefit."
Since Trump took office and refused to divest from his businesses, instead handing over control of the Trump Organization to his two eldest sons, hundreds of people and groups have interacted with the president and his business in ways that "showcase the president's willingness to blend his personal gain with his professional responsibilities," CREW said.
According to the report:
- 55 members of Congress have made 78 visits to Trump's resort properties.
- Cabinet members have patronized Trump properties and attended events with special interests or wealthy political donors at least 30 times.
- Foreign government-tied entities have held 13 events at Trump properties, and at least 134 foreign officials have visited one of Trump’s properties—violations of U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause.
- Special interest groups have sponsored 117 events at Trump properties since he took office.
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The report details several specific examples of favors given to officials and associates who visit Trump's properties. Patrons of the president's private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida have been offered chances to "shadow rule" government agencies, while a other members have been nominated to ambassadorships.
On Twitter, CREW research Director Robert Maguire posted a graphic showing the president has averaged more than two conflicts of interest per day since taking office.
Trump's frequent interactions with people and groups who have a vested interest in influencing U.S. policy amount to an "astonishing rate of corruption," CREW said.
The president's conduct could also have major implications for future administrations, Bookbinder said.
"The president's decision to retain a financial interest in the Trump Organization sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents and officials who will be less inclined to separate their own interests from their public duties and to choose duty over corruption," said Bookbinder.