Conflicts of Interest
The Oxford Dictionary defines a conflict of interest as "a situation in which the concerns or aims of two different parties are incompatible" or "a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity."
Trump has many businesses, investments, and business relationships that create conflicts of interest for him as president. He has refused to eliminate those financial entanglements. He has also refused to disclose his taxes, as all modern presidents and presidential candidates have done. This makes it impossible to know whether actions he is taking as president are being done in service of the U.S., or for his own financial gain (or the gain of those close to him, such as his family).
The Constitution has a provision known as the Emoluments Clause, which bans payments from foreign powers. This was intended by the framers to prevent U.S. officials from being corrupted by gifts or payments. Trump's businesses receive payments from foreign powers.
See also Corruption.
2018.01.19 A year into Donald Trump’s presidency, records show five of his top staffers still have not secured final approval of their financial reports — disclosures that are required by law to ensure Americans that these senior officials aren’t personally benefiting from their White House jobs. mcclatchydc.com (See also Administration Errors, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner) 2018.01.24 Instead of helping consumers (as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), Mick Mulvaney, who has accepted donations from payday lenders, is now delaying the implementation of payday lending rules. npr.org (See also Mick Mulvaney, Reversals, Corruption) 2018.01.25 A case accusing Mr. Trump of violating the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, which prevent a president from accepting government-bestowed benefits either at home or abroad, appeared to inch forward during a lengthy hearing before a federal judge in Maryland. nytimes.com (See also Corruption, Unprecedented Actions, Legal Activity) 2018.01.29 Donald Trump is seeking to parlay his first State of the Union address on Tuesday into cash for his reelection campaign by offering supporters a chance to see their name flashed on the screen during a broadcast of the speech. washingtonpost.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Corruption) 2018.01.31 Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson allowed his son to help organize an agency “listening tour” in Baltimore last summer despite warnings from department lawyers that doing so risked violating federal ethics rules, according to internal documents. washingtonpost.com (See also Ben Carson, Department of Housing and Urban Development) 2018.01.31 The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resigned on Wednesday, in the middle of the nation’s worst flu epidemic in nearly a decade, because of her troubling financial investments in tobacco and health care companies that posed potential conflicts of interest. nytimes.com (See also Resignations and Dismissals, Department of Health and Human Services) 2018.02.15 Last April, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, led the charge for his agency to approve rules allowing television broadcasters to greatly increase the number of stations they own, enabling Sinclair Broadcasting to move forward on a blockbuster $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media — a deal those new rules made possible, but the top internal watchdog for the F.C.C. opened an investigation into whether Mr. Pai and his aides had improperly pushed for the rule changes and whether they had timed them to benefit Sinclair. nytimes.com (See also Corruption) 2018.02.16 After less than 13 months, more than 40 percent of the people Trump originally picked for Cabinet-level jobs have faced ethical or other controversies. washingtonpost.com (See also Administration Errors, Trump Cabinet, Corruption, Tom Price, Ryan Zinke, Steven Mnuchin, John Kelly, Jeff Sessions, Ben Carson) 2018.02.19 The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is making what has been dubbed an unofficial visit to India to promote his family’s real estate projects, but he’s also planning to deliver a foreign policy speech on Indo-Pacific relations at an event with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. washingtonpost.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, Nepotism, Trump Business) 2018.02.23 Soon after the Republican National Committee came under pressure for paying legal bills for Donald Trump and his eldest son in the special counsel's Russia probe, it started covering expenses for the president's re-election campaign. cnbc.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election) 2018.02.24 An ethics watchdog group has asked the Interior Department’s Inspector General to investigate Zinke over an alleged violation of a federal conflict of interest law after reports surfaced that he assisted a Montana–based gun manufacturer and vendor of which he is a shareholder. splinternews.com (See also Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke) 2018.02.26 The Trump Organization announced that it donated the profits from “foreign government patronage” at its hotels last year to the U.S. Treasury, but declined to identify those foreign customers or the amount of the contribution. washingtonpost.com (See also Trump Business, Department of the Treasury) 2018.02.27 Department of Housing and Urban Development officials spent $31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson’s office in late 2017 — just as the White House circulated its plans to slash HUD’s programs for the homeless, elderly and poor, according to federal procurement records. nytimes.com (See also Department of Housing and Urban Development, Corruption, Ben Carson) 2018.02.28 In 2017, Jared Kushner met multiple times in the White House with leaders of at least two financial institutions that subsequently made large loans to Mr. Kushner’s family real estate business, in which Mr. Kushner retains an interest. nytimes.com (See also Jared Kushner, Corruption) 2018.03.02 Billionaire investor and longtime Trump confidant Carl Icahn dumped $31.3 million of stock in a company heavily dependent on steel last week, just days before Trump announced plans to impose steep tariffs on steel imports. thinkprogress.org (See also Corruption, Economy) 2018.03.02 Jared Kushner's firm made a direct pitch to Qatar’s minister of finance in April 2017 in an attempt to secure investment for his signature 666 Fifth Avenue property in NYC, and after being rebuffed, Kushner provided critical support to a Middle Eastern diplomatic row that culminated in a blockade of Qatar. theintercept.com (See also Jared Kushner, Corruption, Foreign Policy) 2018.03.02 William G. Otis, one of Donald Trump's picks for a seat on the body that sets policy used to punish 70,000 federal criminals every year has publicly called to abolish that agency, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and has a history of making racially charged remarks about crime. npr.org (See also Assaults on Government, Racism) 2018.03.06 Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao admitted that Donald Trump personally asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to block funding for New York City's badly needed Gateway project. nymag.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao) 2018.03.07 A key aide to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has been granted permission to make extra money moonlighting for private clients whose identities are being kept secret. apnews.com (See also Corruption, Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency) 2018.03.08 A week after his inauguration, Donald Trump signed an executive order that bars former lobbyists, lawyers and others from participating in any matter they lobbied or otherwise worked on for private clients within two years before going to work for the government, but records show Trump's top lawyer has issued at least 24 ethics waivers to key administration officials at the White House and executive branch agencies. cnbc.com (See also Reversals, Hypocrisy, Corruption, Don McGahn) 2018.03.12 Donald Trump Jr. has a previously undisclosed business relationship with a longtime hunting buddy who helped raise millions of dollars for his father’s 2016 presidential campaign and has had special access to top government officials since the election. apnews.com (See also Corruption, Donald Trump Jr, Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke) 2018.03.12 Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to special counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration nbcnews.com (See also Jared Kushner, Russian Meddling in Election, Trump Relationship with Russia, Foreign Policy) 2018.03.12 White House adviser Ivanka Trump receives more than $1 million each year from her family’s business that develops luxury resorts across the globe, sometimes with help from foreign governments, but her continued relationship with the Trump Organization creates countless potential conflicts of interest as she represents President Donald Trump at meetings with world leaders and lobbies U.S. lawmakers. mcclatchydc.com (See also Ivanka Trump, Trump Business, Corruption) 2018.03.16 A new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to Donald Trump and his family. apnews.com (See also Ryan Zinke, Department of the Interior, Corruption) 2018.03.16 Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, a little more than 24 hours before McCabe was set to retire — a move that McCabe alleged was an attempt to slander him and undermine the ongoing special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign. washingtonpost.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice)