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Karl A. Racine
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AG Racine & AG Frosh File Response Brief in Emoluments Clause Lawsuit

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Contact:
Rob Marus, Communications Director: (202) 724-5646; [email protected]
Marrisa Geller, Public Affairs Specialist: (202) 724-5448; [email protected]


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh filed a new brief in their lawsuit against President Donald Trump. The suit alleges that President Trump is violating key anti-corruption provisions in the Constitution and seeks to stop him from continuing to profit from his office. The brief is a response to the president’s motion to dismiss the suit and lays out the District and Maryland’s arguments for why the case must be allowed to proceed.

“It is clear that the payments and benefits President Trump continues to receive from governments violate core anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution,” said Attorney General Racine.

“The Emoluments Clauses were written to ensure that the president serves the people, not his own bottom line, and we will continue to fight to protect our residents and enforce the law” said Attorney General Frosh.

In the brief, Attorneys General Racine and Frosh argue that “Maryland and the District have standing, and their allegations readily state a claim for relief. The President’s motion [to dismiss the suit] should be denied.”

Background:
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh filed a federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump in June, alleging that the President’s wide-ranging business entanglements with foreign and domestic government actors violate the Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses.

The Emoluments Clauses are anti-corruption provisions included in the Constitution. They shield government officials from outside influence and ensure that they are motivated by the nation’s interests, rather than by their own bottom lines. The Foreign Emoluments Clause bars officials from accepting money or items of value from foreign governments. The Domestic Emoluments Clause bars officials from accepting money or things of value—outside of their direct compensation—from the states or the federal government. In this way, the clauses prevent government entities from currying favor or exerting undue influence over officials.

According to the complaint, “[u]ncertainty about whether the President is acting in the best interests of the American people, or rather for his own ends or personal enrichment, inflicts lasting harm on our democracy. The Framers of the Constitution foresaw that possibility, and acted to prevent that harm.”

The suit seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction to put a stop to the president’s constitutional violations.

More information can be found here: https://oag.dc.gov/page/emoluments-lawsuit