Donald Trump's candidacy for president has generated several unprecedented dilemmas for America. If he actually wins the office, we'll have another to deal with: How does a businessman president avoid conflict-of-interest issues? Will Trump be forced to give up his various business concerns?
The short answer is no, as Jackie Koppell explains in today's Seeker Daily report. Unlike other high-ranking government officials, the president is not legally required to sell off business interests or otherwise make changes when he or she takes office. In fact, the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 specifically exempts the president from rules in this regard. The idea being that the presidency is so powerful that anything could be considered a conflict of interest.
Trump controls more than 500 companies across many industries in several countries. In some cases, the potential conflict of interest is very serious, indeed.
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For instance, Trump has partnered in the past with the South Korean corporation Daewoo Engineering and Construction. On the campaign trail, he's advocated for a U.S. foreign policy approach that would encourage South Korea to develop nuclear weapons. If Trump is elected and follows through with his push for nuclear development in South Korea, Daewoo Engineering -- and therefore the Trump's affiliated companies -- could potentially make an enormous profit.
Since the 1960s, most presidents have put their investments in a blind trust, operated by an ostensibly disinterested third party. Trump has said that, instead, he will hand his business dealings over to his children.
If elected, Trump would be at the very least legally required to disclose all of his holdings, companies and business relationships. According to Newsweek, Trump is allegedly connected to business dealings in at least 10 other countries including India, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Germany. And the New York Times reports that the Trump Organization owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bank of China and Goldman Sachs.
-- Glenn McDonald
New York Times: Donald Trump's Ventures Began With a Lot of Hype. Here's How They Turned Out.
Newsweek: How The Trump Organization's Foreign Business Ties Could Upend U.S. National Security
CNN: Full Rush Transcript: Donald Trump, CNN Milwaukee Republican Presidential Town Hall