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A business empire, conflict of interest concerns and President-elect Donald Trump. We’ll look at the challenge.
Donald Trump will soon be president of the United States. Donald Trump has business interests all over the world. That sets the stage for conflicts of interest of a kind and scale never before seen in the American presidency. The Trump family says this will be solved by handing business control to his children in what they’ve called a “blind trust.” But that’s not a blind trust. So what happens here? This hour On Point, the conflict of interest challenge in a Trump presidency. — Tom Ashbrook
Richard Painter, professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota. Former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush.
From Tom's Reading List
New York Times: Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President — "Mr. Trump’s companies have business operations in at least 20 countries, with a particular focus on the developing world, including outposts in nations like India, Indonesia and Uruguay, according to a New York Times analysis of his presidential campaign financial disclosures. What’s more, the true extent of Mr. Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear, since he has refused to release his tax returns and has not made public a list of his lenders."
The Economist: Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest — "The Trump Organisation could now profit from the presidency in two ways. First, the profits of existing assets could rise. The Economist has obtained data on hotel-room prices from an online travel agent. If the value of the Trump brand had risen during the election campaign you might expect a surge in prices. During 2016 the average room rate per night for a Trump-branded hotel in America fell by 1%, in line with other 4- to 5-star hotels. True, in November there has been a 12% spike in prices compared with a year earlier. But even if this is maintained it is unlikely to flow directly to the group’s bottom line. Most hotel-franchising fee deals are long term and insensitive to trading conditions. Likewise the tenants of commercial office properties that Mr Trump owns will have long-term leases. So even if the prestige of the brand rises, it may take many years—more than four—for that to translate into higher cashflow."
NPR News: Conflict Of Interest Possibilities Attract Watchful Eyes To Trump's Dealings -- "The problem is that when you mix discussion of official United States government business with discussion of your personal business, you can tread dangerously close to the bribery statutes. And those statutes obviously apply to the president, along with everyone else. And that is not where you want to go."
This program aired on November 28, 2016.
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