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President Donald Trump is once again the target of a lawsuit over conflicts of interest between his presidential office and private business pursuits.

The Washington Post reports that the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia plan to file a federal lawsuit on Monday that claims Trump is violating a government anti-corruption principle in the U.S. Constitution, known as the Emoluments Clause.

Trump has been allowed to sit in the White House while his business empire continues to make deals at home and overseas in secrecy. It raises questions about the motives behind his decisions, such as the controversial plan to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord to benefit the U.S. coal industry.

According to The Post, which viewed a copy of the lawsuit Sunday night, the suit alleges that the president’s businesses receive millions of dollars from foreign governments and individuals, making him “deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors.”

Trump said in January that he placed his businesses into a trust that his sons manage, to avoid conflicts of interest. However, Trump’s sons are traveling the globe—at public expense—to make deals with foreign entities to build the family’s wealth.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, both Democrats, allege that Trump is involved in “unprecedented constitutional violations.

“This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government,” Frosh told The Post.

Racine said this lawsuit is necessary because Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, have failed to do their job.

“We’re getting in here to be the check and balance that it appears Congress is unwilling to be,” he told the newspaper.

If the courts permit the lawsuit to move forward, it’s likely that Trump’s tax returns and other financial records will be made public.

According to The Post, this is the first time that government entities have filed this kind of lawsuit. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a watchdog group, sued the president earlier this year for violating the Emoluments Clause.

SOURCE:  Washington Post


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