Non­prof­its pe­ti­tion Trump over busi­ness

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

NEW YORK:

A prom­i­nent Demo­cratic sen­a­tor and trans­parency groups on Thurs­day stepped up pres­sure on Don­ald Trump to sever busi­ness ties and elim­i­nate con­flicts of in­ter­est be­fore be­com­ing US pres­i­dent. El­iz­a­beth War­ren said she and other sen­a­tors would in­tro­duce a bill in Jan­uary that would re­quire Trump to dis­close and di­vest any fi­nan­cial con­flicts of in­ter­est be­fore the Repub­li­can prop­erty ty­coon is sworn in as pres­i­dent on Jan­uary 20.

“Plac­ing as­sets in a true blind trust has been the stan­dard for pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents. Our bill makes clear we ex­pect Trump to do the same,” War­ren tweeted. Democrats are a mi­nor­ity in the Se­nate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, mean­ing that the bill has lit­tle chance of be­ing adopted by Congress.

On Thurs­day a group of protesters rep­re­sent­ing six or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing Pub­lic Ci­ti­zen and Com­mon Cause, were es­corted into Trump Tower to de­liver pe­ti­tions they said were signed by more than 400,000 peo­ple de­mand­ing that the fu­ture pres­i­dent sep­a­rate him­self fully from his con­glom­er­ate, The Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion. Crit­ics say the com­pany, which has a net­work of ho­tels, golf clubs and res­i­dences across the globe, could ex­pose Trump to con­flicts of in­ter­est on a myr­iad of poli­cies, rang­ing from tax re­form to for­eign pol­icy.

“A sec­ond grader could see that the only so­lu­tion to this prob­lem is for Pres­i­dent-elect Trump to sell off the fam­ily busi­ness, yet there is no sign he in­tends to do this,” said Robert Weiss­man, pres­i­dent of Pub­lic Ci­ti­zen. Trump was orig­i­nally sched­uled to hold a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day to an­nounce plans for his busi­ness dur­ing his four-year term in of­fice, but post­poned it ear­lier this week to an un­de­ter­mined date in Jan­uary.

So far the 70-year-old bil­lion­aire has said only that his two adult sons, Don­ald Jr. and Eric, would take over and that the com­pany would do no new deals while he serves as pres­i­dent. In the in­terim, nei­ther Trump nor his tran­si­tion team have of­fered any new de­tails on what mech­a­nism Trump might adopt.

“I think the pri­or­ity here is to make sure we get it right and if that takes a lit­tle bit more time, then I think the Amer­i­can peo­ple un­der­stand that,” a spokesman told re­porters on Thurs­day. The pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines, Ro­drigo Duterte, mag­ni­fied fears about con­flicts of in­ter­ests when he named a lo­cal busi­ness part­ner of The Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion a “spe­cial en­voy” to the United States. — AFP

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