Friday, December 16, 2016
List of Trump's known conflicts of interest. Libby Nelson, VOX - REPOST
This one goes under the public's right to know. Libby Nelson from VOX.com has taken the time to collect a list of (so-far) known Trump business entanglements. A list every citizen ought to be familiar with.
America was tricked (by strategic and Russian fed, Breitbart circulated false advertising - along with systemic silence among those whom we trusted to protect America's interest) into voting for a Trojan Horse.
Now it's like, hahaha suckers, catch us if you can! Why wasn't all this made clear to Americans long ago? What about all those oaths of office and supposed fealty to protect our US government as it exists, not as some believe their personal God wants it to look like!
Who is going to defend America against this orchestrated hostile take-over by the oligarchs who already had way the hell too much power and too little awareness of the realities of this planet we depend on for everything?
The following is a complete REPOST of what to me seems critically important information that every citizen ought to be aware of. Doing my part, but it's going to require thousands of points of light if we are to confront the storming horde of self-interested oligarchs.
All of Donald Trump’s known conflicts of interest in one place
Updated by Libby Nelson | Dec 13, 2016, 5:24pm EST
When Americans talk about corruption in politics, they usually mean the outsize influence corporations and the wealthy can exert in politics through campaign donations.
But President-elect Donald Trump’s administration risks a much more direct type of corruption, where the end goal is not donations to a reelection campaign but personal enrichment for the president himself. Trump’s massive business empire — towering skyscrapers and sprawling golf courses, menswear and furniture, and his licensing of his personal “brand” around the world — promises endless entanglements of business and politics.
And we do not know the extent of the problem. Trump refuses to release his tax returns or disclose information about his debts. He’s structured and nested his companies to make it difficult to determine who owns something as simple as a helicopter. For every obvious conflict, there could be many more that aren’t even public.
The most positive outcome of these entanglements could be that Trump pursues win-win deals that enrich both the country and himself. But these same relationships could lead him to act and react in ways that distort the economy, tilting it in favor of his own interests, and changing the United States’ foreign policy to benefit him rather than the country. It could also distort the economy, rewarding allies at the expense of other companies, stifling growth.
Even if the worst-case scenario doesn’t come true, Trump has clearly demonstrated he has little interest in meaningfully separating his businesses from his presidency. Because many Trump businesses bear the Trump name, the president-elect will be aware of where his interests are even if he hands the reins of the business to his adult children, as he’s said he will do.
This is not how being president is supposed to work. The president is not supposed to be weighing the interests of his businesses against the interest of the country — and picking the interests of the country is supposed to be automatic, not laudable. The president’s job is to lead the country in a way that puts all Americans first, and to be transparent about where his own financial interests lie. There is little sign that Trump will live up to this, and we’ll update this list as more conflicts emerge.
Foreign conflicts: Trump’s business dealings could affect his relationships with other countries
Trump’s business empire touches at least 18 countries, presenting leaders around the globe with a tempting avenue to win favor with the next president and Trump with a way to use the power of the presidency to help his businesses.
What these investments are, though, isn’t always clear.
Since brand licensing is such a big part of Trump’s business, it’s obvious when he’s lent the Trump name to real estate developments in other countries. Trump himself hasn’t been transparent about what all of his international holdings entail. A week after the election, for example, Trump dissolved four of his companies named after the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, but the Trump Organization’s general counsel didn’t elaborate on why those corporations were created in the first place.
There’s no guarantee of a quid-pro-quo between foreign governments and the new Trump administration. Smoothing the path for a Trump-branded property abroad or booking a room at a Trump hotel might not mean Trump will do anything in return. But the mere possibility has ensured that governments will try — as they already are.
And as long as they do, Trump will profit off that hope.
• Argentina: Three days after the election, the YY Development Group, the developer of a long-delayed Trump tower in Argentina, announced that the project would move forward. A controversy immediately erupted about whether Trump had put in a word for the project with the president of Argentina, also a personal friend of his, in their post-election call, as some local journalists reported. The president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, denies the conversation took place.
• Bahrain: The Kingdom of Bahrain is hosting the celebration of its 45th national day at the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, DC, which held a reception for foreign diplomats selling them on the recently opened property.
Bahrain and the US are allies, but that alliance has been occasionally tense in recent years amid internal political unrest and concerns about human rights in the region, and Bahrain has good reason to want to influence the US government. In 2011, the US suspended aid to Bahrain after it cracked down on protests and dissidents, and still won’t provide aid to its Interior Ministry, which handles domestic security, due to human rights concerns.
• Brazil: A Trump hotel in Rio de Janeiro is part of a broad investigation into whether two pension funds that invested in the project were bribed to do so.
• China: The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China’s state-owned bank, is the single largest leaseholder in Trump Tower, and the lease is scheduled to expire while Trump is in office. One of Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to get tough on China, including labeling it a “currency manipulator” and putting a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods. But if Trump is in a business relationship with China’s state-owned bank, that gives the country some leverage over him in return.
• Georgia: A Trump Tower in Batumi, Georgia, long stalled, suddenly began moving forward again after the election, the Washington Post reported. Like many Trump projects abroad, Trump was partnering with local developers, and the developer in this case said that the roadblocks did not require government help. But when the project was first announced, it had the enthusiastic backing of Georgia’s former president, a friend of Trump’s, the New York Times reported in 2011 — showing how foreign leaders can influence real estate development in their countries.
• India: Trump has five projects currently underway in India, involving partners who are themselves closely tied to Indian politicians. That leads to a wide web of possible conflicts, but the New York Times laid out one of the clear ways Indian politicians could use it to curry favor. It’s common there for politicians to lean on bureaucrats and banks to ease the way for new developments through lending and permits, and Indian politicians could do this for the Trump family in hopes of gaining favor even if they’re not specifically asked to do so.
• Ireland: A Trump golf course in Ireland is embroiled in a dispute about whether a sea wall is a threat to an environmentally protected snail. Environmentalists say they’re confident the board that oversees the dispute is immune to politics.
• Japan: Ivanka Trump joined a meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump Tower, although Trump has her own business interests in Japan: She’s close to closing a business deal with Sanei International, a Japanese apparel company, the New York Times reported. The Japanese government, via a state-owned bank, is Sanei’s largest shareholder.
• The Philippines: Jose E. B. Antonio, a real estate developer who partnered with Trump on the $150 million Trump Tower in Mataki City is now the country’s special envoy to the US. Although Antonio was named to the post before the election, the Philippines likely hopes that a friend and business partner of Trump’s will have sway over US foreign policy toward Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, whose drug war in the country has killed thousands of people.
• Scotland, United Kingdom: In a meeting with Nigel Farage, the British politician who backed his candidacy, Trump urged Farage to oppose wind farms — which he dislikes because he believes they spoil the view from his golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland. Scotland is also considering a second referendum on independence in the wake of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, which Trump supported. It’s unclear how his business interests in the country might interact with his foreign policy in that situation.
• Turkey: The Trump Towers in Istanbul have become a tool that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has used in his relationship with the president-elect. After Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, Erdoğan said he wanted Trump’s name off the buildings. After Trump defended Erdoğan in the wake of a coup in Turkey, Erdoğan backed down — suggesting that foreign leaders could try to tie Trump’s business fortunes to their approval of him and his policies.
Domestic conflicts: Trump could help his businesses and build his brand
Domestically, the entanglement of Trump’s business and political interests could lead him to make appointments and policy that influence the economy in favor of Trump’s businesses and those of his political allies.
And while Trump’s brand was worth $3.3 billion during the campaign, according to its estimate, he’s already looking for ways to expand it — as are members of his family.
• Trump’s Washington hotel: Trump’s new hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, DC, worth $212 million, could be the biggest symbol of the conflict of interests he’ll face. As president, Trump will also appoint the head of the General Services Administration, which manages the hotel. The same desire to curry favor that foreign diplomats expressed when discussing booking rooms there could also apply to domestic groups, although so far, it’s mostly been the venue of choice for conservative organizations. Meanwhile, a controversy has arisen about whether he’s even allowed to hold the lease in the first place — a clause forbids any elected or government official from doing so.
• Labor disputes: Days before the election, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that a Trump hotel in Las Vegas had violated labor law by refusing to recognize and negotiate with a newly formed union. As president, Trump will appoint members to the board, and while it’s common for Republicans to pick less union-friendly members than Democrats, Trump is unusual because the board’s decisions could directly affect his business interests in the future.
• Deutsche Bank: Deutsche Bank, one of Trump’s biggest lenders — his most recent financial disclosures say he owes the bank at least $364 million — is negotiating a $4 billion to $5 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over its packaging and sale of mortgage-backed securities. Talks were suspended after the November election, and the concern is that Trump’s administration might be more lenient on a Trump Organization creditor.
• The stock portfolio: Trump says he sold his stock portfolio, including stocks worth as much as $40 million, back in June. But so far, he hasn’t provided proof. It’s standard for presidents to sell their stock and put it in a blind trust, so they’re no longer aware what companies they own — and Trump owns small slices of big players in industries his policies will affect, from pharmaceuticals to technology companies.
• The trademarks: Before Trump secured the Republican nomination, he tried to trademark the phrase “American Idea.” Melania Trump has tried to trademark her name for use in a jewelry line. And after Ivanka Trump appeared in a 60 Minutes interview, reporters were notified that she was wearing a $10,800 bracelet from her own line of jewelry.
• Celebrity Apprentice: Trump will remain an executive producer on the reality television show, according to Variety, meaning that he’ll continue to receive income while in the White House. While presidents, including President Obama, have made money from royalties on books during their time in office, the TV show is just one small part of Trump’s ongoing business empire.
Other excellent recent news reports by Libby Nelson:
The Freedom Caucus has a plan.
Matthew Yglesias, Brad Plumer, Emily Crockett, Julia Belluz, Timothy B. Lee, Dara Lind, Libby Nelson, and German Lopez December 16, 2016, 8:20 a.m. ET
Want to understand Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest? Just look at his hotel.
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Libby Nelson December 13, 2016, 12:10 p.m. ET
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Libby Nelson December 12, 2016, 9:03 p.m. ET
All of Donald Trump’s known conflicts of interest in one place
Libby Nelson, updated December 13, 2016
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Libby Nelson, November 30, 2016
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He’s chosen a Michigan billionaire and school voucher activist for Education Secretary.
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The lawsuits the president-elect just settled reveal an ugly truth about him.
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The Wall Street Journal says Trump should sell his businesses. But the president-elect’s top officials are shrugging off concerns.
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Libby Nelson November 19, 2016, 3:10 p.m. ET
The president-elect who brags about never settling just settled the Trump University lawsuit.
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And it makes his advisers even more important.
Libby Nelson November 14, 2016, 6:00 p.m. ET