Rule of Law

RELEASE: CAC Applauds Senate Introduction of Legislation to Enforce Emoluments Clauses

WASHINGTON – On the introduction of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Enforcement Act—led by Senator Richard Blumenthal and co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, Edward Markey, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Ron Wyden—Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following statement:

Constitutional Accountability Center applauds the introduction of this incredibly important legislation that would breathe new life into the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution.

These provisions were not enshrined in our nation’s charter to collect dust in a cabinet of curiosities. America’s founders, in fact, believed that corruption and foreign influence were among the gravest threats to our nation.

From the moment former President Trump took office, however, he was in violation of both of the Emoluments Clauses. But because multiple lawsuits were not enough to force him to respect these constitutional provisions—provisions followed by every other president, regardless of political party—Trump escaped accountability for flouting them.

To protect our nation against future lawlessness from chief executives and other federal officials, the legislation introduced today would codify the prohibitions outlined in the Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses, while creating clear mechanisms for making sure that emoluments are reported, and the Clauses are fully enforced.

Senator Blumenthal has long been a champion for strengthening the Constitution’s prohibitions against corruption. We appreciate his continuing commitment to seeing the day that the Emoluments Clauses are able to play the anti-corruption role that the text and history of our Constitution demand.

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Resources:

CAC case page in Blumenthal, et al. v. Trump, the closed challenge on behalf of Members of Congress to former President Trump’s violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause (with resources): https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/trump-and-foreign-emoluments-clause/

CAC white paper, “The Domestic Emoluments Clause: Its Text, Meaning, and Application to Donald J. Trump,” by Brianne J. Gorod, Brian R. Frazelle, and Samuel Houshower, July 26, 2017: https://www.theusconstitution.org/think_tank/the-domestic-emoluments-clause-its-text-meaning-and-application-to-donald-j-trump/

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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