Sen. Elizabeth Warren name-checked President Trump and his sister as part of Warren's latest anti-government corruption proposal.
The Democratic presidential candidate, who will hold a rally on the plan Monday in Trump's home city of New York, said that his failure to divest from the Trump Organization, his refusal to release his tax returns, and the decision by his sister, Maryanne Trump-Barry, to resign from her federal appellate judgeship to avoid a tax fraud probe into Trump family businesses practices are among the reasons why an overhaul of federal ethics rules is needed.
In a post on Medium, Warren called Trump “a walking conflict of interest.”
“His refusal to divest from his businesses has opened the door for giant corporations, foreign lobbyists, and our own government officials to curry favor with his administration and pad his own bottom line," Warren wrote.
But, Warren added, "these problems did not start with Donald Trump."
"They are much bigger than him — and solving them will require big, structural change to fundamentally transform our government," wrote Warren, who has made corporate influence on government a key campaign issue.
Warren’s plan would apply conflict of interest laws to the president and the vice president, require federal candidates and officeholders to disclose their tax returns, require senior government officials to divest from privately owned assets that could present conflicts of interest, bar government officials from trading stocks or serving on corporate boards, and ban trading based on insider political information.
It would also impose additional restrictions on lobbyists and impose new ethics requirements on Supreme Court justices and other federal judges.
Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, said Warren’s plan cuts to the heart of where reforms are most needed: the influence of corporate money on government officials and the decisions they make.
Several of the provisions in Warren's plan are already included in bills filed by Warren and other Democrats, including the sweeping H.R. 1 bill filed earlier this year aimed at ethics, campaign finance and voting rights reforms.
Gilbert called Warren's focus on Trump warranted, but that it’s important to propose solutions that are focused more broadly than on one administration. Warren’s plan does that too, Gilbert said.
“It’s hard to talk about why the problem has grown so big without talking about our No. 1 offender,” Gilbert said. “There is always a fear that in this news cycle that is all that gets talked about.”
The White House did not immediately respond to Warren’s plan, but Trump posted a series of tweets generally blasting Democrats for suggesting that he is conflicted by his business interest.
“Democrats are trying to build a case that I enrich myself by being President,” his tweet said in part. “Good idea, except I will, and have always expected to, lose BILLIONS of DOLLARS for the privilege of being your President - and doing the best job that has been done in many decades.”
Warren is set to discuss her anti-corruption proposal Monday night in New York City, near the site of the former Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. A fire at the factory in 1911 killed nearly 150 workers, and led to a series of workplace reforms.