This Week in Conflicts: Trump Can Appeal Emoluments Lawsuit and Trump Jr. Dismisses Conflict of Interest Concerns Related to Trump Org. Indonesia Project


This week, a report breaks down President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest, Donald Trump Jr. dismisses the possibility of a conflict of interest as the Trump Organization continues with its plan for developments in Indonesia and the President is allowed to appeal one of the emoluments lawsuits against him.

Pro-Trump Super Pac and the Trump Campaign

A company owned by President Trump’s campaign manager “has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the President’s flagship political action committee, which is barred from coordinating with the campaign,” according to CNN. “Federal Election Commission records indicate that Red State Data and Digital has received  $910,000 from  America First Action,  the super PAC formed in 2017 to support the Trump-Pence agenda and  fellow Republican  candidates.”

Super PACs can raise and spend money on behalf of federal candidates but are barred from coordinating spending decisions with the campaigns.

The campaign manager “insists their arrangement is legitimate and that there is no coordination,” according to CNN.

Trump Allowed to Appeal Emolument Lawsuit

A federal judge is allowing President Trump to appeal a preliminary ruling in one of the lawsuits accusing him of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.

According to Reuters, under the judge’s order, “Justice Department lawyers arguing for Trump will be able to seek fast-track review of a determination that the Democratic lawmakers had legal standing to bring the case, as well as a ruling that rejected Trump’s interpretation of the constitutional language at issue in the case.”

This lawsuit was brought against President Trump by a group of Democratic lawmakers. They accuse the president of violating the Emoluments Clauses, which bans the president from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments without congressional consent. 

President Trump is facing another similar lawsuit that was brought against him by the attorney generals of Washington, D.C. and Maryland. That case is pending.

Trump’s 2,000 Conflicts of Interest

A recent report from a government watchdog group said President Trump has 2,000 conflicts of interest and counting.

According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington or CREW, “during his run for president, Donald Trump promised that he would ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington by rooting out corruption and wrenching power from lobbyists and special interests. In the two and a half years since he assumed the office of President of the United States, he has done exactly the opposite: placing former lobbyists in positions of power while giving foreign governments and special interests the opportunity to purchase access to his administration by patronizing his businesses. Instead of limiting Washington corruption, President Trump has pushed it into uncharted territory, innovating forms of corruption.”

The report highlights President Trump’s visits to his company properties and highlights how often politicians and others in power have visited his properties and how much they have spent.

“The conflicts of interest that President Trump created by retaining his business interests are at some level immeasurable,” according to the report. “There is no comprehensive financial filing requirement, for example, that the public or Congress can use to effectively identify these contacts and the administration has refused any good-faith efforts to provide the public with useful information, whether White House visitor logs or the president’s tax returns.”

Trump Jr. Indonesia Project

According to Reuters, Donald Trump Jr., President Trump’s oldest son, is dismissing any risk of conflict of interest as the Trump Organization continues with plans for two Trump-branded projects in Indonesia.

Trump Jr. is the executive vice president of the Trump Organization. He said the projects in Indonesia were signed before his father became president and the company has an obligation to finish the deal. The Trump Organization is partnering with Indonesia’s MNC Group run by billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo on the projects. 

The projects include two resorts located on Bali and in Lido, near the capital Jakarta.

Trump Jr. told reporters any notion that President Trump might be influenced to change U.S. policy because of a development is “totally asinine.” 

“I’d like to shut that nonsense down once and for all right here,” he told reporters.

More conflicts of interest in the news

About this Project

Sunlight’s “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” project provides a free, searchable database detailing President Donald J. Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as President of the United States. The project also documents news coverage of these potential conflicts. Read our reporting to stay current on related news, explore our database, and learn more about the project. As we continue to learn about the First Family’s business holdings, the database will be updated. To help with those updates, get involved by contacting us here. You can also contact us if you’re familiar with any of the conflicts we’re tracking. 

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She produces content focused on government accountability, public access to information and freedom of expression issues. She’s also helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public through the Trusting News project.