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Proposal Details

Proposal ID867
ProposalPresident's Conflicts of Interest Resolution
PresenterGreen Party of California
Floor ManagerJan Martell
PhaseVoting
Discussion04/11/2017 - 04/23/2017
Voting04/24/2017 - 04/30/2017
Presens Quorum 0.6666
Consens Quorum A Majority of Yes and No Votes

Background

The framers of the Constitution of the United States were determined to prevent corruption among public officeholders. The emoluments clauses of the Constitution prohibit federal officeholders from accepting foreign gifts or emoluments without congressional consent, nor accepting any additional compensation than their designated salary. The intention was to forbid relationships that might lead to corruption. Under the presidency of Donald Trump, there is strong evidence to suggest the emoluments clauses have been violated, creating potential violations of the Constitution and potentially impeachable offenses. However President Trump has refused to release his tax returns, making such determinations difficult. This proposal would put the Green Party of the United States on record demanding that Trump release his tax returns and on record seeking an investigation to determine whether such constitutional violations have occurred.

Proposal

That the National Committee approve the following resolution

Whereas the Constitution of the United States grants vast powers to the President of the United States (https://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm#a2); and

Whereas these powers are granted in the name of the people and in the public trust; and

Whereas a democracy is effective only if the people have faith in those who govern; and

Whereas a conflict of interest is something that creates an incentive to put one's own interests before the interests of the people one serves; and

Whereas to avoid corruption, conflicts of interest, and to preserve the president's independence in the exercise of those powers, the Constitution’s domestic emoluments clause prohibits presidents from enriching themselves from the public treasury beyond the president's specific salary and benefits; and

Whereas to avoid corruption, conflicts of interest, and to preserve the president's independence in the exercise of those powers, the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause prohibits presidents from accepting foreign gifts or emoluments without congressional consent; and

Whereas emoluments include profits received in a business relationship and are not limited to monetary payments, but also include economically valuable favorable regulatory actions; and

Whereas before assuming office, President-elect Donald Trump claimed a vast domestic and international network of businesses and investments; and

Whereas profiting from these investments by virtue of decisions he might make as President would be a violation of the emoluments clauses; and

Whereas in December 2016, the Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics recommended to then President-elect Trump that the only way that Mr. Trump could satisfy the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution would be complete to completely divest his business assets and place them into a blind trust (https://oge.gov/web/OGE.nsf/All%20Documents/169B877EB78DA99F852580C10058D4C6/$FILE/ELPB%20Email%20wTrump%20November%208-December%2022%202016.pdf ) ; and

Whereas the President-election declined to do so, and instead indicated control would be transferred to his children; and

Whereas the Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics concluded that "Transferring operational control of a company to one's children would not constitute the establishment of a qualified blind trust, nor would it eliminate conflicts of interest" (http://www.npr.org/2016/12/13/505476925/government-ethics-office-says-trump-should-divest-himself-of-his-businesses ); and

Whereas every major Presidential candidate since Richard Nixon (with the exception of President Gerald Ford who released a summary of his tax data), has released his or her tax returns for public review – until Donald Trump (http://www.taxhistory.org/www/website.nsf/Web/PresidentialTaxReturns); and

Whereas none of the potential conflicts of interest arising from President Trump's domestic and international investments can be verified until and unless there is financial disclosure from President Trump, and

Whereas ensuring that the emoluments clause is being followed is a non-partisan act based in the language of the Constitution of the United States and in the roots of our democracy, and is not meant to show favoritism nor bias nor advantage towards any political candidate or party; and

Whereas the non-partisan the Congressional Research Service has concluded that impeachable conduct does not appear to be limited to criminal behavior, and that historically Congress has identified at least three general types of conduct that constitute grounds for impeachment: (1) improperly exceeding or abusing the powers of the office; (2) behavior incompatible with the function and purpose of the office; and (3) misusing the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44260.pdf) -- all of which could be said to follow from willful and ongoing violation of the emoluments clauses; and

Whereas the oath of office taken by members of the U.S. House of Representatives “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States ....and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter..." (http://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Oath-of-Office/); and

Whereas the House Judiciary Committee passed three Articles of Impeachment in 1974 with bi-partisan support against then President Nixon;

Therefore in an attempt to determine whether the emoluments clauses of the Constitution of the United States have been violated by President Trump, and whether by extension President Trump should be impeached

- The Green Party of the United States calls upon President Trump to immediately release his tax returns for the last five years; and

- If President Trump does not release his tax returns for the last five years, that pursuant to Section 6103(f)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, the Green Party of the United States calls upon the Ways and Means Committee to immediately submit a written request to the Secretary of the Treasury for copies of the President’s federal tax returns; and

- Upon receipt of said tax returns, the Green Party of the United States calls upon the Ways and Means Committee to then submit the President’s federal tax returns to the House of Representatives, thereby making them available to the public; and for the House of Representatives to begin an investigation to determine whether the emoluments clauses have been violated, including subpoenaing all necessary records and placing people under oath ; and

- If President Trump does not release his tax returns pursuant to Section 6103(f)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, that the House Judiciary Committee investigate whether he is in Contempt of Congress, which itself is an impeachable offense.

Resources

None

References

Contact: Sanda Everette, sanda.greensolutions@gmail.com

https://impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org/case-for-impeachment/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvvlmXBlces
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44260.pdf
https://oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/All%20Documents/6E08189CF6AF742B852580A500799063/$FILE/Remarks%20of%20W%20M%20Shaub%20Jr%20(1).pdf
https://www.scribd.com/document/339231543/Brady-Tax-Return-Letter-020117

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