Democratic US lawmakers push bill to bar foreign payments to president

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Democratic US lawmakers introduced legislation on Tuesday that would bar the president and other top officials from accepting payments from foreign governments while in office, a measure clearly aimed at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The bill, which has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives as the Nov. 5 election approaches, is aimed at tightening enforcement of the Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause.”

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House Oversight Committee Democrats released a report in January that found businesses tied to former President Trump received at least $7.8 million in foreign payments from 20 countries during his four years in the White House.

“For centuries, the President and other high-ranking government officials strictly respected the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses. Sadly, President Trump’s brazen acceptance of illegal foreign payments and benefits showed the need for clear rules enforcing the Constitution’s preeminent anti-corruption provisions,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who introduced the bill with Representative Jamie Raskin.

The bill would prevent high-ranking officials, also including members of Congress, from receiving payments directly or indirectly from foreign governments through businesses they control and create penalties for unauthorized acceptance of foreign payments. The ban would apply for two years after leaving office unless Congress authorized an exception.

Trump, whose businesses include extensive real estate holdings, did not divest from his businesses or put them in a blind trust when he took office, as was US precedent. Instead, he left his adult sons to manage his companies.

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