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195 Congressional Democrats file Emoluments Lawsuit against Trump

195 Congressional Democrats file Emoluments Lawsuit against Trump

In a rational world, this lawsuit would have zero chance of success.

In a case docketed today, 195 Democratic Senators and Congressmen, led by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman John Conyers, filed suit against President Trump seeking to declare a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. This follows a prior lawsuit by the Attorney Generals of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The Emoluments Clause [ARTICLE I, SECTION 9, CLAUSE 8] provides:

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

The full Complaint (pdf.) is embedded below. Here is an excerpt of the opening paragraphs:

Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative John Conyers, Jr., along with 194 other members of Congress, for their complaint against Donald J. Trump, in his official capacity as President of the United States of America, allege as follows:

1. Plaintiffs, 30 members of the United States Senate and 166 members of the United States House of Representatives, bring this action against President Donald J. Trump to obtain relief from the President’s continuing violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution, which was designed to ensure that our nation’s leaders would not be corrupted by foreign influence or put their own financial interests over the national interest. To achieve those aims, the Clause provides that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”1 [1 U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 8.] Through this measure, the nation’s Founders invested members of Congress with an important role in preventing the corruption and foreign influence that the Founders sought to avoid—permitting federal officeholders to accept otherwise prohibited “Emolument[s]” only if they first received “the Consent of the Congress.”

2. Defendant, President Donald J. Trump, has a financial interest in vast business holdings around the world that engage in dealings with foreign governments and receive benefits from those governments. By virtue of that financial interest, Defendant has accepted, or necessarily will accept, “Emolument[s]” from “foreign State[s]” while holding the office of President of the United States.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief:

6. To redress that injury, Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief establishing that Defendant violates the Constitution when he accepts any monetary or nonmonetary benefit—any “present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever”—from a foreign state without first obtaining “the Consent of the Congress.” Plaintiffs also seek injunctive relief ordering Defendant not to accept any such benefits from a foreign state without first obtaining “the Consent of the Congress.”

* * *


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court enter a judgment in Plaintiffs’ favor and against Defendant, consisting of:
(a) A declaratory judgment stating that:

(1) Defendant is a “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust” within the meaning of the Foreign Emoluments Clause;
(2) the Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust” from accepting any benefits of value, monetary or nonmonetary, from “any King, Prince, or foreign State”;
(3) the phrase “any King, Prince, or foreign State” under the Foreign Emoluments Clause includes any foreign government and any agent or instrumentality thereof; and
(4) by accepting emoluments from foreign states without first seeking and obtaining “the Consent of the Congress,” Defendant is violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause;

(b) Injunctive relief, enjoining Defendant from accepting emoluments from foreign
states without first obtaining the consent of Congress; and

(c) Such other and further relief as this Court may deem just and proper.

More to follow.

UPDATE 6-16-2017: I have to apologize for no further follow up. The Scalise shooting coverage took priority over an analysis of the lawsuit.


Blumenthal v Trump – Emoluments Complaint by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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The only effective strategy left for Dems is to turn everything over to the Judiciary, it’s their last bastion. They just need to find some flower-child obama appointee to legislate their socialism from the bench.

Here is an excellent AmSpec argument documenting the end of the activist judiciary and the rise of the textualists:

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to rdmdawg. | June 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    But this latest “dog and pony” show won’t work for the Democrat Party either.

    But it will alienate more Americas – splitting them away forever.

Snakes gotta snake.

Oh my. First time ever modern Democrats are praying.

    buckeyeminuteman in reply to RodFC. | June 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Their photo-posing prayer after the baseball practice shooting is the most Democrats to ever pray in a single place since at least the days of JFK.

      Wrathchilde in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | June 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Personally I think it more likely that they were huddling up to agree on a response than praying.

      But I’ll admit that this may stem from my dislike of their past behavior.

    Sam in Texas in reply to RodFC. | June 14, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    My reaction to hearing about Democrats forming a circle to pray, was that it was Wiccan. That is to say, practitioners of the Wiccan religion praying to the Gods of the Earth that there are “better results” next time.

    The Congressmen were very lucky Scalise was there and that by his position he was entitled to a security detail.

What is their actual end goal other than continuing to be obstructionists? What do they want to happen?

Do they honestly think that owning properties where foreign parties rent rooms constitutes a gift? Are they so ignorant about being in business that they don’t comprehend the concept of being paid for providing a customer a good/a service?

Do they actually expect Trump to sell his holdings?
Or do they hope he would resign rather than do that?

buckeyeminuteman | June 14, 2017 at 12:42 pm

I thought his sons owned the businesses now for this exact reason. It seems the Dems are about 6 months too late on this.

    YellowSnake in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | June 14, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    WRONG! He still owns them. They allegedly control them and they allegedly don’t consult him. If you believe that, you are dumber than the average T supporter.

      hrhdhd in reply to YellowSnake. | June 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Grr. That upvote was an emolument.

      JoAnne in reply to YellowSnake. | June 14, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Stop it right now. We talk here, we don’t hurl insults.

        YellowSnake in reply to JoAnne. | June 14, 2017 at 4:39 pm

        Yeah, I only got called ‘ignorant’ twice and a troll. No insults here.

        What u really mean is that this site is only for those who agree with each other and don’t want their bubble burst.

        FACT: Trump still owns the company. That is fact. Whether he benefits by being President may be for a court of law to determine. But anyone who doesn’t understand that it is likely that he is benefiting, isn’t a candidate for an academic scholarship to Podunk U.

        BTW, the cost of membership at Maralogo doubled to 200K since his election. Coincidence? Maybe. Are some of the members connected to foreign governments – definitely.

        I am all in favor of civil discourse. Would you care for me to point out all the uncivil comments on just the 1st page of this site?

          Yes, YellowSnake. You are a flaming troll.

          You’re opening insult was:

          Are you so ignorant that you didn’t know that the hotel was less than 50% occupied before he won the election. Did the service get that much better?

          Yes we expect him to sell his holdings and devote himself to being president. Where is the health bill or the tax bill or the infrastructure bill?

          Some of the Trump properties are up in bookings (not nearly all). And it’s something I would somewhat expect from the masses: They now have (for the first time in their lifetimes) a President that has an ownership in business that they can actually DO business with. Long before Trump became a Presidential candidate, I owned a few Trump-brand dress shirts. I expect that I will purchase more in the future when I need that particular style and cut for my suits. The masses can say “I stayed in a hotel owned by President Trump.

          Notwithstanding the foolishness of your statement, no we do not expect our elected officials to sell their business holdings and devote themselves to their public service. I’m willing to bet that each and every Democrat that has signed on as a co-Plaintiff in this matter that owns a business is within the same circumstance as President Trump, should a foreign government purchase from their business.

          As a note: Nobody batted an eye with the advance book payments that President Obama received. Are you really going to tell me that not ONE foreign government-sponsored library purchased a single copy of any of President Obama’s books? Or that of President Clinton? Or that of Sec. of State Hillary Clinton?

          Are ALL of the Senators and House Representatives going to sell ALL their business holdings that hold themselves out to the public to provide goods and services? Not a chance in Hell. How about all their stock-holdings? Land? Where does the list of “profit-making” enterprises or assets end and become “acceptable?”

          Bottom line (and I expect that we will have a SCOTUS ruling on this at some point): Doing business in an arms-length transaction is not an “emoulument” because it’s an arms-length transaction. Period. It has nothing at all to do with the position that Trump holds in the Federal Government.

          Piece of advice that I’m sure you will ignore: Don’t read the Kos Kiddies. It will rot what’s left of your brain AND give you bad information to try to spread.

          Tom Servo in reply to YellowSnake. | June 14, 2017 at 7:37 pm

          Standard Leftist Troll games: Jump onto a site where they’ve never posted before, and then instantly seek to dominate a thread and make the conversation all about them, while also gratuitously insulting anyone who takes an opinion different then theirs.

          THEN, when other posters reply to them with the EXACT SAME LANGUAGE that they have already used, they try to act all butthurt and cry “everyone’s so mean to me, you people are big meanies and are liars and aren’t “civil” at all.”

          And so forth, and so on, forever. A troll’s only goal is to cause arguments and make a post section toxic, so the crying will go on forever, as long as he’s allowed to post.

          Which makes this one a good candidate for banning, based just on what’s happened today.

          Barry in reply to YellowSnake. | June 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

          You’re an insult to snakes. yellowbelly, crawling in the gutter justifying the murderous ways of a fellow prog.

        notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to JoAnne. | June 14, 2017 at 9:39 pm

        So right Tom and JoAnne, so right.

Gotta try something​ else now that the Russia thing is going nowhere.

Will Secretary Clinton have to give back all that money her “charity” collected while Secretary of State?

    Milhouse in reply to mrboxty. | June 14, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    No, because it didn’t go to her but to the charity she controlled. But for instance neither she (nor, as I understand it, her husband) were allowed to accept speaking fees or consulting fees from foreign governments while she was in office. There’s no bar, of course, on receiving anything from private people just because they happen to be foreign.

    But to the best of my knowledge, if she were to own rental real estate which was managed by an outside agent, and one of the tenants happened to be a foreign government entity, I don’t think that would have been a problem.

Progressive desperation.

Common Sense | June 14, 2017 at 12:56 pm

You can smell the desperation coming from the loony left.
No message other than hate Trump and Trump supporters.

DJT said he consulted with lawyers before he ever decided to run, about the questions raised by his business holdings. I know from various news reports that he followed attorney advice and took steps to deal with the problem. I do not yet know the details.

But yesterday I watched the Democrats delude themselves that attending a conference, giving a speech, and mingling with the crowd for a short time afterward can be constituted in retrospect as anefarious “meeting” with a specific ambassador. Today I read that the Washington Pos and New York Times (bylines to Matt Flegenheimer and Rebecca R. Ruiz) think that Sesson’s failure to recall and rule out whether he had a trivial conversation with one of the ubiquitous attendees to that type of event was a failure to answer a central question about his conduct.

This is the same tactic that got Donald J. Trump elected President, in the first place. I noted it months ago right here: the Democrats and their collusive media overreacted to the opposition to the point that they convinced the voters that they, the Democrats, are a bunch of lying hysterics.

They haven’t learned.

Yesterday, a bunch of lawyers on the Intelligence Committee had to be schooled on the rules for his recusal from a single from FBI investigation,

CFR 28 CFR 45.2

which was a subject of his confirmation hearing, something that has been a matter of public record for months.

Have they no decency?

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Valerie. | June 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    “Have they no decency?”

    They do not have any decency!

    You’re 100% accurate: regarding “they convinced the voters that they, the Democrats, are a bunch of lying hysterics.”

      They seem to relish every opportunity to beclown themselves. Ron Wyden was particularly egregious in this vein. Diane Feinstein, despite her politics, has learned how to conduct herself civilly in such a setting.

    4fun in reply to Valerie. | June 14, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Have they no decency?

    Democrats and decency are only close in the dictionary.

Sweden… Nobel… Obama.

Has anyone seen Obama’s *real* birth certificate?

This is ridiculous.

The way these Bolsheviks are trying to interpret the Constitution, they are basically saying that successful businessmen have no right to run for President, or that they should renounce their businesses. Ridiculous.

(By the way, I think we should all stop calling that party ‘Democrats’. They are NOT Democrats. We should instead call them for what they really are: Bolsheviks)

Not a question fro the courts. If the Dems think there’s a problem, let them file Articles of Impeachment and see how far they get. The American people were fully aware Trump was a businessman before they voted for him.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to gospace. | June 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm


    REAL World business experience – that’s why some voted for Trump.

Originalists know this is rubbish. The Constitutional Convention doesn’t seem to have devoted any thought to the rise of the professional parasite politician, a career man who’s never done anything productive in his life and therefore knows nothing about it. They imagined that a successful smuggler merchant and importer such as, say, John Hancock or a successful plantation owner such as George Washington would, later in life, go into politics for a few years, sharing his accumulated knowledge and wisdom to the benefit of the country and its practical management, then gracefully retire back to his business pursuits.

Of course that didn’t happen … but that was the original idea.

It would never have crossed their minds that a politician should divorce himself completely from his property or wealth just so that he could serve a term or two in office.

Instead, the plain text of the Emoluments Clause means that foreigners can’t bribe, divert, or otherwise influence government officeholders by conferring nobility. If George III offered to make George Washington a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Washington would have to turn it down (at least if he was in office at the time, and if he couldn’t wrangle approval from Congress), and of course would also have to turn down any offer of lands or any other estate which might go with the Order. However, it didn’t rule out commerce, or even gifts. Frederick the Great of Prussia sent a gift to his renowned fellow general, George Washington … a sword (which still exists) … without precipitating any political or legal crises.

    Milhouse in reply to tom swift. | June 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Um, have you read the relevant clause? It explicitly includes gifts. It also includes any reward for services rendered, no matter how trivial, even a $50 tip for giving a speech. Basically if an amateur athlete can’t accept it without endangering his status, nor can an office-holder under the United States accept it from a foreign government.

    The reason George Washington could accept those gifts is because the presidency is not an “office under the united states” — and the same is true for Trump.

thalesofmiletus | June 14, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Whatevergate rooting around for the next whatever.

So they filed this lawsuit and presented evidence right? Oh I forgot. The constitution makes an exception for requiring evidence to prove guilt in the case of anyone named Donald Trump.

Civil war, here we come.

allthingsgo | June 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm

well, how many ‘foreign’ States aren’t doing business under ‘personal’ brand, with Trump brand? Agreed. This is a weak case to prove… on the other hand, in any rational world, Trump won’t be standing with his current standing in Governments. right?

Bucky Barkingham | June 14, 2017 at 3:37 pm

In other news, a deranged Democrat has shot and wounded a Republican Congressman and fired at others in a public park. It is not known whether any of the victims had accepted “Emoluments”.

This isn’t so much of a civil war as an attempt at a coup.

Fight fire with fire.

Now that we’re here, can you just imagine if that traitor clinton was in power on the heels of that traitor obama?

In his role against the malignant government monarchy (that includes rats Ryan and McConnell, McCain, Graham, etc.) Trump is akin to George Washington.

Trump is not alone by any stretch of the imagination. WE are Trump.

Several problems with this, starting with their unsupported assertion that:

(1) Defendant is a “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust” within the meaning of the Foreign Emoluments Clause;

They present no direct backing for this assertion, and to the best of my knowledge it is not true. The key phrase are “any office…under them”, i.e. the United States. That phrase is used several times in the constitution, and each time it seems that neither the presidency nor any elective office is included. An office under the United States means a paid position to which someone is appointed by the president, with the senate’s consent. Thus the presidency itself is not such an office.

To support their claim they cite the precedent of several presidents who acted as if the clause applied to them:

Historically, presidents have respected their obligations under the Foreign Emoluments Clause and have declined to accept presents or emoluments from foreign states without obtaining the consent of Congress

But their first example is that of Andrew Jackson in 1830. They neglect to mention that George Washington openly accepted presents from France, given directly to him, and not only didn’t he bother seeking Congress’s consent, but the Congress of the day, which was not at all loath to assert its privileges against presidential encroachment, uttered not a word of protest. That can only be because the members of Congress all agreed that the clause did not apply.

They also strain to establish that the ordinary proceeds of business done on the open market, at arms length from the officer in question, are emoluments “received” from the business’s customers. They concentrate on defining “emolument” to include all income; that’s very well, but what about “receive”? Does a widget manufacturer receive an emolument from each person who buys his product? Does an author receive one from each person who buys his book? I don’t think so. The proceeds of his business are his emolument for the work he put into it, but the individual payment each customer makes is not, I think “an emolument” that he can be said to be receiving from that person.

Trump should not respond to the lawsuit. Let them get a default judgment from their hand-selected judge. Then let that judge enforce it. The executive branch is co-equal and should not accede to groveling by subjecting the executive branch to its enemies in the other branches. Let them pound sand. The only way to succeed in their coup is impeachment. That is a political, not a legal matter. POTUS should not agree to move this issue to the Judicial branch.

allthingsgo | June 14, 2017 at 6:14 pm

“It is not known whether any of the victims had accepted “Emoluments”. What is known motive from the last target shooting in 2011 is this hanging question: ” What is government, when words have no meaning ? – Jared Lee ”

Did any members of foreign governments buy copies of Obama’s books while he was President, and if so, did Obama receive monuments in the form of royalties?

If so, everything Obama did in office should be overturned as his presidency clearly violated the Constitution.

Humphrey's Executor | June 14, 2017 at 7:33 pm

So every president who published a book before being president, which was then purchased by some foreign potentate, violated the constitution from receiving a “royalty.” I think not.

Can we call this the Sarah Palin Strategy? Seems they stopped at every court in the land to sue her also.
Be nice to turn around and be able to afford to sue the democrats in every court in the land.

Doesn’t the “Prayer for Relief” instruct us in the solution to this suit?
“(b) Injunctive relief, enjoining Defendant from accepting emoluments from foreign states without first obtaining the consent of Congress…”
Republicans control both houses of Congress, do they not?

    DaveGinOly in reply to DaveGinOly. | June 14, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    And the Constitution too, I should note.

    This is not an intractable problem. Just torpedo the suit with Congressional approval.

It appears that liberals are uncomfortable with people who actually have succeeded in business running for political office. They apparently refer their elected leaders to be professional feeders at the govt teat. I guess that is in line with their love of being dependent on the govt for everything.

allthingsgo | June 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

@katiejane who actually have succeeded in business, before entering into another line of ‘public’ work?

actually few appear to have been major businessmen – other than being lawyers

allthingsgo | June 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

@YellowSnake -13 was your score, higher than mine -8… way to go ! – RedApple/demonRat
@katiejane agreed that Law does NOT give life. but who bought 666 on 5th Ave. and couldn’t gain much of anything?