White House

Do not disturb? No details on how Trump would donate foreign hotel profits to the US

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2017 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Trump says his team will have a full report on hacking within 90 days,†and is again dismissing as fake a document alleging Russia has damaging information about him.
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2017 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Trump says his team will have a full report on hacking within 90 days,†and is again dismissing as fake a document alleging Russia has damaging information about him. AP

Donald Trump announced this week that he would donate profits from foreign government money spent at his hotels to the U.S. Treasury. But he revealed few details about how the new system would work.

We know this much: The policy would only apply to Trump’s hotels and not condos, golf course memberships or other businesses, aides say. And they say it would only apply to foreign leaders and people who work for foreign governments.

But there are many unanswered questions: When does it start? Who would enforce it? Where it would be reported?

Sheri Dillon, an attorney with Morgan Lewis who has worked with Trump to devise new business arrangements, announced the new policy at a news conference Wednesday but did not say whether newly created ethics and compliance officers would oversee it or whether it would be reported to the Office of Government Ethics as part of ongoing disclosure requirements.

“President-Elect is announcing he will donate all profits from foreign governments’ patronage of his hotels during his presidential term to the U.S. Treasury,” Trump transition spokeswoman Hope Hicks said. “We have not shared any further details at this time.”

Dillon outlined a number of changes to prepare for Trump’s presidency, though she said none were actually required. She said she was responding to unwarranted concerns about the Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution which says “officials may not accept gifts, titles of nobility, or emoluments from foreign governments with respect to their office, and that no benefit should be derived by holding in office.”

“The Constitution does not require President-elect Trump to do anything here,” she said. “But, just like with conflicts of interests, he wants to do more than what the Constitution requires.”

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