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.
Below are methodological notes about the database.
What is a conflict of interest: For the purposes of this database, a potential conflict of interest is considered to be: a business entity, individual or foreign government with which a member of the First Family retains financial ties or positions of influence — whether through equity, investment, debt or other arrangements.
Conflict “status”: The status of each potential conflict is marked as “active” if a family member maintains an active role in an organization, holds an ownership interest in a company, owes a debt or is otherwise (as described in the database record) tied to a business, foreign government or individual. Any such ties that have been severed or assets that have been reported as divested are marked as “resolved.” However, as the project works to verify the arms-length nature of various transactions, the status of some records may switch from “resolved” to “active.” In cases where the nature or current status of a business interest is uncertain due to limited documentation, the potential conflict status is marked “unclear.”
Sources: The primary source files for the database are the 2017 financial disclosures of President Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. In some cases, prior or subsequent disclosures were also referenced. In some cases, additional Internet research was conducted; any sources referenced are included among the news stories associated with each potential conflict. Family members of government officials are not required to file such disclosures, although a spouse’s employment assets and income, as well as retirement accounts, are disclosed. This project relies on news coverage about Melania Trump, Eric Trump Donald Trump, Jr. and other family members to build the fullest picture possible of the First Family’s business and financial interests.
Select news coverage: Volunteers are assigned specific news outlets to monitor for stories related to potential conflicts of interest for the First Family. These stories are vetted for credibility and relevance by the project’s assigning editor.
Linked business entities: In many cases, a single business operation may involve multiple business entities with different names. (For example, a corporation and a managing partnership may handle different roles for the same real estate development. This is not unique to the First Family’s business holdings.) To streamline the use of the database for search and analysis, related businesses have been linked and assigned a single reference name. Information about all business entities associated with that reference name is identified, along with each entity’s ownership structure (if known). The primary basis for linking business entities is the ownership structures reported by President Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner on their financial disclosures.
Overlapping interests: The number of potential conflicts of interest identified by this database should be cited carefully, as the First Family holds overlapping interests in many business entities. For example, President Trump and Ivanka Trump both are active in many of the same businesses. Another example may be assets held jointly and disclosed by both Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. In this database, each person’s interest in a business is counted as one potential conflict of interest.
If you have additional questions about our methodology, have any suggestions or would like to contribute additional data to this project, please contact us here.