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Under the Trump administration, we’ve seen constant conflicts of interest and attacks on the rule of law. The Brennan Center for Justice is fighting to ensure that officials are serving the people’s interests.

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Why It Matters

The president has maintained effective control of his business empire while in office, and several top government officials have been credibly accused of serious ethical lapses. These revelations have threatened to further damage Americans’ faith in the integrity of government.

At the same time, the president has urged the Justice Department to investigate his political opponents, demanded that it take action against companies whose media outlets have criticized him, fired the FBI director, and ousted his attorney general for a perceived lack of loyalty. And the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that the president sought to influence the federal investigation into Russian election interference. The result has been to dangerously undermine our longstanding tradition of independent, unbiased law enforcement.

In response, the Brennan Center is fighting to ensure that government officials are serving the people’s interests, not their own — and to renew America’s long-standing commitment to the rule of law and the ideal of public service as a public trust. We convened a bipartisan task force of former senior government officials who have offered detailed proposals to tighten ethics laws and prevent inappropriate politicization of law enforcement.

Solutions

Congress should require the president and vice president, and candidates for those offices, to publicly disclose their personal and business tax returns. Congress should pass a law to enforce the safeguards in the Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses, clearly articulating which payments and benefits are prohibited and providing an enforcement scheme for violations. Congress should extend federal safeguards against conflicts of interest to the president and vice president, with specific exemptions that recognize the president’s unique role.