A U.S. federal appeals court ruled Friday that a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause can move forward.
The lawsuit, filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), was dismissed for lack of standing by a lower-level judge in December 2017. The plaintiffs, comprised of the president’s rivals in the hospitality industry, have alleged that the president’s profiting off his “foreign and domestic government clientele” has hurt their businesses.
“The Plaintiff establishments cater to foreign and domestic government clientele, and allege that they are direct competitors of hospitality properties owned by the President in Washington D.C. and New York City. The complaint alleges that President Trump, operating through corporations, limited‐liability companies, limited partnerships, and other business structures, is effectively the sole owner of restaurants, hotels, and event spaces, which are patronized by foreign and domestic government clientele,” reads the appellate court’s explanation of the case. “The President has announced that, since assuming office, he has turned over day‐to‐day management of his business empire to his children and established a trust to hold his business assets. However, he maintains sole ownership, receives business updates at least quarterly, and has the ability to obtain distributions from the trust at any time.”
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