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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.

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