About This Project

American flags flying outside of Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. December 12, 2016.
Our questions about what open government would mean in the White House of President Donald J. Trump have been answered: this is a secretive administration, allergic to transparency and hostile to the essential role journalism plays in a democracy.

In the days and months since Election Day and Inauguration Day, this president has continued to mix the business interests of the Trump Organization with those of the American people, whom he represents.

On November 28, Sunlight began maintaining a list of reported conflicts of interest, where Trump business had mixed with public business, and unconfirmed reports of conflicts of interest, where more reporting is needed to clarify, and resolved instances.

On May 9th, we relaunched our list as a spreadsheet, expanded from a list of dozens to hundreds of entities. On July 7, we updated our list again, incorporating President Trump’s financial disclosure to the Office of Government Ethics on June 14th and media reports from around the world. On September 18, we split our list, breaking out and adding conflicts for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, and conflicts for Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

We’ll continue to update our list of Trump’s conflicts of interest, embedded below, as more relevant news stories, court filings and legislation enter the public record, including noting when or if a given conflict has been resolved, and publishing investigative journalism based upon it. If you have ideas for a story or visualization, please pitch us.

On January 15, after Trump held his first press conference since July 27, 2016, engaging in transparency theater next to piles of folders, Sunlight issued the following statement, attributable to John Wonderlich:

“Today’s announcement by President-elect Donald J. Trump failed to address the unprecedented conflicts of interest he brings to Presidency. Trump is putting his business interests ahead of the interests of the country by failing to live up to well-established practices for addressing financial conflicts.

Trump’s plan leaves the Presidency vulnerable to self-dealing, constitutional crisis, the appearance of corruption, and other abuses of power. Trump’s approach to governance and ethics repudiates decades of accepted norms for modern democratic accountability.

Trump’s trust is not blind. His brand will conflict with his Presidency. His taxes remain secret, despite decades of precedent. The Trump Presidency will be mired in litigation, doubt, scandal, and crisis.”

So long as President Trump does not embrace transparency and disclose his tax returns and take meaningful steps to divest himself from his complex foreign and domestic business interests, both real and rumored corruption will cast a shadow over the Trump administration‘s actions in the USA and around the globe. Given the White House’s failure to take action, the potential for the most corrupt administration in history, unfortunately, remains clear.