Donald Trump canceled a press conference’s week because he desperately wants to keep his family real estate business no matter the problems or conflicts of interest that it would cause him in while in office. Now we know why; Trump expects a $32 million dollar pot of gold from taxpayers, in the form of a tax credit paid for his work on the Trump DC Hotel.
The conflict of interest at the Trump DC Hotel is doubly stunning because the President-elect could one day appoint the official who makes the tax decision and ethics lawyers are urging the government to terminate the lease immediately once he takes office in January. NyMag reports about the impending windfall tax credit:
On November 14, the National Park Service finalized the second phase of a three-step approval process that would provide an entity owned by Trump and his children with a credit worth 20 percent of the cost of the rehabilitation, which the mogul has estimated at $160 million. Before Trump submits the third part of his application, he will likely have the opportunity to appoint the new director of the National Park Service — a circumstance that fits the textbook definition of a conflict of interest.
A new report on NBC News says that GSA officials told Democratic legislators that in fact, Trump’s continued ownership will definitely breach the contract if inaugurated. The General Services Agency (GSA) just officially announced Trump will have only thirty days if inaugurated, to repair the breach in the contract that would result from holding both a government contract and the government job of President simultaneously.
Donald Trump has made it plain to advisors that his number one concern is retaining ownership of his brand name and family real estate business, not running America nor preventing foreign terrorist attacks or maintaining our country’s standing in the world. Politico reports Trump will never divest ownership in his business to relieve myriad conflicts of interest:
Trump also wants a way to return to his business when his White House days are over, and he doesn’t want anyone outside the family owning the rights to the Trump name while he’s away, Trump’s friends, business associates and transition staff tell POLITICO.
Trump has interests in more than 18 other countries, setting up his foreign policies for close scrutiny of potential conflicts. And active litigation involving his companies also continues to expose Trump to depositions, document discovery and other legal steps that could embarrass him once he’s a sitting president.
Trump’s ownership of just a single hotel in D.C. is already causing all of the above conflicts and problems and, even worse, represents a Constitutional violation waiting to happen — according to experts.
There’s simply no way that Donald Trump can run the government with no conflicts of interests by simply turning over his multi-national real estate businesses to his children, whose financial interests in a family business are identical to his own.
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics made all of this clear weeks ago in a viral tweetstorm, and even produced a handy three-page brochure to explain their position to the world (below).
If the Electoral College votes for Donald Trump, he must divest his family business and branding company if he wishes to become America’s president in January.
Clearly, the message isn’t getting through to Donald Trump.
— U.S. OGE (@OfficeGovEthics) December 8, 2016
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition