Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), joined by 23 Senators, announced that he is cosponsoring new legislation, the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017, that would require President-elect Donald Trump to remove all conflicts of interest. Mounting independent reports show that President-elect Trump is facing a web of entanglements even as he refuses to follow the bipartisan tradition set by past Presidents of removing financial conflicts of interest. The Casey-backed bill would require all Presidents, Vice Presidents and certain family members to divest from their financial holdings in order to ensure that the nation’s leaders serve the public interest first and not their business interests. A group of bipartisan ethics experts, including the Office of Government Ethics, former Obama ethics lawyer Norm Eisen and former Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter have said that divestment is the only way to ensure that major corporations, including foreign governments do not hold any leverage over a President.
"President-elect Trump's conflicts of interests are unprecedented and for the good of our nation he must divest himself from his businesses." Senator Casey said. "The American people deserve to know that their President is acting in their best interest and not for the benefit of his business interests. Unless President-elect Trump divests, the American people will have no way of knowing where the Trump Organization ends and the Trump Administration begins."
The New York Times has reported that President-elect Trump intends to retain a financial stake in the Trump Organization while he is President and has also found that Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to other entities, including the Bank of China. A new report by the Wall Street Journal shows that Trump’s debt is held by major corporations including J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
The Casey-backed legislation would also require sitting presidents and presidential nominees to release publicly their tax returns and prohibit presidential appointees from participating in matters involving potential financial conflicts of interest for the President.