Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Emoluments Clause

Donald Trump's international business dealings - especially those that involve foreign governments - have raised issues involving the emoluments clause of the Constitution. In the 22 years I have taught this subject, I can't recall this part of the Constitution being brought up before. So this is new to me.

I'm offering a few links below that will allow us to dig into it further over the spring.

Here's the text of the clause. It can be found in the first article of the Constitution - the one that outlines the nature of legislative powers. It is included in the section that places limits on national legislative powers:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8

This is the definition of the word "emolument" from dictionary.com:
profit, salary, or fees from office or employment; compensation for services

In essence, no governing official can obtain private profit from public work. That obviously leads to corruption. Below are links with background - expect more in the near future.

- Heritage Foundation: Emoluments Clause.
- The New York Times: Donald Trump’s Business Dealings Test a Constitutional Limit.
- The Constitution Daily: Constitution Check: Can a violation of the Emoluments Clause be proven



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