Cohen Helps Lead Congressional Lawsuit Challenging President Trump’s Violation of Constitution’s Anti-Corruption Clause

June 20, 2017
Press Release
Nearly 200 House Members and Senators File Suit to Stop Trump from Accepting Unconstitutional Foreign Emoluments

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, and nearly 200 Members of Congress have filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump for allegedly violating one of the Constitution’s critical anti-corruption provisions: the Foreign Emoluments Clause.  The Clause prohibits the President from accepting payments and other benefits from foreign governments without seeking and receiving Congressional authorization.

“The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause is a vital protection against foreign governments’ corrupting influence.” said Congressman Cohen. “The American people should have total confidence that the President is serving their interest, not his own financial enrichment.  President Trump’s refusal to disclose information to Congress or seek Congress’s authorization for accepting profits from foreign governments stemming from his sprawling foreign financial interests is a brazen violation of the Constitution and a danger to our democracy.  I was proud to join House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers and Senator Richard Blumenthal in being one of the lead plaintiffs in this lawsuit. As Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, I will continue to hold this President accountable to the Constitution and to the American people.”

From the beginning of his Administration, President Trump’s dealings with countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China have raised questions about his financial conflicts of interest. Since the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week, public reporting has revealed that President Trump has received additional foreign benefits – including new trademarks in China – and is brokering business deals in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf while regional tensions escalate.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause, outlined in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, provides in broad language that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”