In a suit filed today, a citizen watchdog group is challenging Donald Trump’s business dealings under the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 reads:
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
The complaint argues that payments from foreign countries to Trump companies (such as the Commercial Bank of China, a state-owned enterprise which leases office space in Trump Tower) violate the Emoluments Clause, which was intended to prevent conflicts of interests and foreign influence in U.S. government decisions. The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, claims standing based on the time and resources spent monitoring the issue, which cannot be spent elsewhere. The complaint contains claims for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Emoluments Clause violations.
The case is pending before Judge Abrams.