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SaintsInDome2006

The Case Against the President: Emoluments, Trump's Finances, Taxes & Foundation

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Art. II, Sec. 1 of the USC:

Quote

The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Art. I, Sec. 9, USC:

Quote

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.

I don't start threads too often, but when I do it's because I'm interested in the subject but I don't see a thread and I just want to see what happens with it and if people have news and thoughts on it.

Anyway this old post by Tobias seemed the closest and I just would like to break it out for future news.

Quote

Impeachment of Judge Robert W Archbald

Robert W Archbald was the third person to be removed from federal office. The federal judge was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 11, 1912, for engaging in improper business relationship with litigants that appeared in his court. He was subsequently convicted by the U.S. Senate and removed from office.

...

The House committee summarized the charges in its report as follows:

He has prostituted his high office for personal profit. He has attempted by various transactions to commercialize his potentiality as judge. He has shown an overweening desire to make gainful bargains with parties having cases before him or likely to have cases before him. To accomplish his purpose he has not hesitated to use his official power and influence. He has degraded his high office and destroyed the confidence of the public In his judicial integrity. He has forfeited the condition upon which he holds his commission and should be removed from office by Impeachment. 

The Senate found Archbald guilty of five of 13 articles of impeachment brought by the House and ordered that he be removed from office. Even after being impeached, Archbald maintained that he did nothing wrong. ...

So, on that point, apparently the Emoluments lawsuit against President Trump has indeed been creeping along:

Quote

Federal judge allows emoluments case against Trump to proceed

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected President Trump’s latest effort to stop a lawsuit that alleges Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments.

The ruling, from U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Md., will allow the plaintiffs in the case — the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia — to proceed with their case, which says Trump has violated the Constitution’s little-used emoluments clause.

The plaintiffs now want to interview Trump Organization employees and search company records to determine which foreign countries have spent money at Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington.

The Justice Department and Trump’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment. They could try to appeal the decision to a higher court and ask Messitte not to allow the attorneys general access to Trump Organization employees and books until the appeal is decided.

The lawsuit, filed last year by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D), cleared an initial hurdle in March. Back then, Messitte settled one legal question, ruling that the plaintiffs had legal standing to sue the president in the first place.

He also limited the scope of the case to Trump’s Washington hotel; previously, the plaintiffs had also wanted to search for foreign-government spending at other Trump properties as well.

The next unsettled questions: What, exactly is an emolument?

That was a question that remained unanswered for more than 200 years.

The Constitution bars federal officials from taking emoluments from any “King, Prince, or Foreign State.” The Founding Fathers’ intent had been to stop U.S. ambassadors overseas — emissaries from a new, poor, fragile country — from being bought off by jewels or payments from wealthy European states.

But the modern meaning of the clause had not been settled because most presidents — acting on the advice of their attorneys — had steered clear of business entanglements while in office.

Trump, on the other hand, has kept ownership of his business empire, including more than 10 hotels and golf clubs around the world. Although Trump has said he gave up day-to-day management of his businesses, he still owns them and can withdraw money from them at any time.

Some of his customers have been foreign governments. In particular, the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington — just blocks from the White House — has rented out large ballrooms to the embassies of Kuwait and the Philippines and hosted visiting leaders from Malaysia and Romania.

At the hearing in June, the plaintiffs had argued that when applied in a modern context, the Constitution’s ban on emoluments should ban transactions such as those.

They said that emolument in this case should not just mean an outright gift but also any transaction that gave Trump “profit, gain or advantage.” That means it would apply to transactions in which a foreign government paid Trump’s company for a service or a hotel room.

But Justice Department attorneys, defending the president, said that this definition twisted the Constitution’s original meaning.

They said the president is not breaking the law when foreign officials book rooms or hold events at his Washington hotel because they are paying for something and not giving Trump a gift.

If the plaintiffs are allowed to conduct “discovery” at Trump’s hotel — examining its books to identify its foreign customers — that could require the president to provide more detailed information about his personal finances. Trump broke with presidential tradition when he refused to make public his tax returns.

The plaintiffs in this case said last month that, through the discovery process, they would try to gain access to Trump’s tax returns, which detail the functions of his businesses as well as his personal spending.

Before Trump took office, his company said it would donate all “foreign profits” collected by the business to the federal treasury. At the end of last year, the Trump Organization said it donated $151,470 in February. But it declined to explain the details behind that number — giving no information about which countries those profits came from or what the Trump Organization’s total revenue from foreign governments had been.

In a separate lawsuit, 200 Democrats in Congress asked a U.S. district judge to force Trump to seek congressional approval before accepting emoluments. The judge in that case has not ruled on the merits of the suit.

- I don't really expect much to come of this but I am excited it is moving this far. I'm a fan of arcane language in the US Constitution and I view much of it as being almost typically always being unenforceable in court cases because who really has standing for such things? And yet I view them as being ghosts in the machine left there by the Founders for when we need them. Hopefully this is such an instance and this continues to trundle through to success.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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Just now, Leroy Hoard said:

Seems like a better way to go after him than his paying off a stripper to be quiet about an affair.

Why not do both?

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Just now, Bucky86 said:

Why not do both?

Because I didn't like them going after Clinton on the Monica thing and I like to keep private matters private.

Getting him on a conflict of interests is definitely more the taxpayers business

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5 minutes ago, Leroy Hoard said:

Because I didn't like them going after Clinton on the Monica thing and I like to keep private matters private.

Getting him on a conflict of interests is definitely more the taxpayers business

No one cares if it was to pay off a chick he had an affair with. The question is if this was a campaign-related expense. That would be illegal. 

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2 minutes ago, Bucky86 said:

No one cares if it was to pay off a chick he had an affair with. The question is if this was a campaign-related expense. That would be illegal. 

I see your point. If he wasn't so cheap he would have just paid her himself or paid his lawyer to pay her. He has his own money I hear.

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13 minutes ago, Weebs210 said:

Good luck with this. See you in 2020.

 

19 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I don't really expect much to come of this

I'm the kind of guy who wonders why if the NFL playbook allows moving the forward by punting (yes see the rulebook, it's a kind of lateral still in there from the days it was rugby), gosh wouldn't it be great to see that once. I loved it when Flutie drop kicked that XP and I loved the play where Belichick put Vereen in at tackle and then threw the pass to the tackle who lined up in the slot. I'm just saying, the Constitution has a lot of flexibility, just because you've never seen it doesn't mean it's not there.

I do not really expect Trump to be removed by this, but I think it would be great if it moved forward, and if it does I expect it will do so extremely slowly.

One other avenue from this though which I think is interesting: the plaintiffs are seeking Trump's tax returns. That would be pretty cool if they get that because I do think the people have a right to see them, and not just his, but all presidents'.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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13 minutes ago, Weebs210 said:

Good luck with this. See you in 2020.

Yes, yes. See you in 2020 indeed.  No elections of consequence or other events that could shape the Trump presidency or the white nationalist plutocracy movement he represents between now and then.  Please share this message with your colleagues who support the movement!

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Anyway, this is a great idea for a thread but I also don't know what we can say about it other than updating the litigation.  We're in uncharted waters here. No president until now has ever attempted this level of shameless profiting off the presidency and no electorate until now would have been dumb enough and complacent enough to tolerate it.

Edited by TobiasFunke
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13 minutes ago, Bucky86 said:

No one cares if it was to pay off a chick he had an affair with. The question is if this was a campaign-related expense. That would be illegal. 

What if he boned her during the campaign?

 

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Just now, Nick Vermeil said:

How have we not had a whistleblower leak of trumps tax returns?  

I think the consequences for someone leaking tax returns is pretty serious.

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2 minutes ago, E Street Brat said:

What if he boned her during the campaign?

 

I still don't care. Almost everyone knows he is a total dirt-bag. If he knowingly broke campaign finance laws he should face the consequences. 

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3 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I think the consequences for someone leaking tax returns is pretty serious.

I’m sure. Still surprises me given the depths of suckitude we’ve reached with this guy. 

 

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14 minutes ago, TobiasFunke said:

Yes, yes. See you in 2020 indeed.  No elections of consequence or other events that could shape the Trump presidency or the white nationalist plutocracy movement he represents between now and then.  Please share this message with your colleagues who support the movement!

Not even sure what you mean here. I foresee an easy 2020 win for Trump though.

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6 minutes ago, Weebs210 said:

Not even sure what you mean here. I foresee an easy 2020 win for Trump though.

Me too, but don't take it for granted!  Stay focused on your goal and don't let the fake news liberal media distract you with stories about "midterms" or "confirmation hearings" or any of that inconsequential stuff.

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Just now, TobiasFunke said:

Me too, but don't take it for granted!  Stay focused on your goal and don't let the fake news liberal media distract you with stories about "midterms" or "confirmation hearings" or any of that inconsequential stuff.

Thanks friend.

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4 hours ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I think the consequences for someone leaking tax returns is pretty serious.

At least we know that Adam Schiff doesn't have them or they'd be broadcast by now. (Funniest quote of the week goes to Trey Gowdy.)

Edited by Sand
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37 minutes ago, Sand said:

At least we know that Adam Schiff doesn't have them or they'd be broadcast by now. (Funniest quote of the week goes to Trey Gowdy.)

That is funny, and maybe true, but even so both the GOP & Dems did all their leaking out in the open through their memos, which considering the fact that the first Fisa file in history was just released by Foia had its own consequences. But I was thinking of the schmoes who work in the cubicles at the IRS who have access to this stuff, they'd go to jail I'd imagine if they let anyone's taxes get out not to mention you know who's.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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5 hours ago, TobiasFunke said:

Anyway, this is a great idea for a thread but I also don't know what we can say about it other than updating the litigation.  We're in uncharted waters here. No president until now has ever attempted this level of shameless profiting off the presidency and no electorate until now would have been dumb enough and complacent enough to tolerate it.

One could make a damn good case for the Clinton's.   

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I see the endgame as a protracted legal battle which ends after he's in office. Or if settled before then, the divestment of the hotel.

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19 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

One could make a damn good case for the Clinton's.   

This is the kind of thing one says when one can’t actually make the case without being buried in an onslaught of evidence to the contrary.

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25 minutes ago, TobiasFunke said:

This is the kind of thing one says when one can’t actually make the case without being buried in an onslaught of evidence to the contrary.

Or a thing one says when they don't want to waste time in a senseless argument that will go nowhere.  Do we really need to be debating the shamelessness of renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to raise campaign dollars from huge doners.  Or having to return furniture taken from the white house.  Or making speeches on foreign ground getting paid large chunks of cash from foreign sources while being the presumptuous next president.  Or using influence and fame from the presidency going from broke to worth well over $100 million.  At least Trump started off wealthy.  The Clinton's entire fortune is based on their political career.  Not really worth debating though, but yes there is a case.  

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32 minutes ago, TobiasFunke said:

This is the kind of thing one says when one can’t actually make the case without being buried in an onslaught of evidence to the contrary.

What do you think is the probability of the Trump organization ever paying back the $500 mil loan they got from China for the project in Indonesia?

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6 hours ago, TobiasFunke said:

Anyway, this is a great idea for a thread but I also don't know what we can say about it other than updating the litigation.  We're in uncharted waters here. 

Previous presidents have charged the secret service to stay on personal property (obviously this is domestic, so not covered under this clause).  From my point of view, does profit mean any profit or a more than customary profit? That's certainly unclear and we haven't had a president with anywhere close to the holdings that DJT has.   If a foreign dignitary paid the going rate I don't think too many people will care.  If Putin paid 5x or 1/5x the going rate people will care.

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I find this interesting as well.

I'm not in the "get him!" crowd, but we should always challenge our elected officials that seem to profit off of their elected position.

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30 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

Or a thing one says when they don't want to waste time in a senseless argument that will go nowhere.  Do we really need to be debating the shamelessness of renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to raise campaign dollars from huge doners.  Or having to return furniture taken from the white house.  Or making speeches on foreign ground getting paid large chunks of cash from foreign sources while being the presumptuous next president.  Or using influence and fame from the presidency going from broke to worth well over $100 million.  At least Trump started off wealthy.  The Clinton's entire fortune is based on their political career.  Not really worth debating though, but yes there is a case.  

Well then, by all means, let's impeach Hillary!  

Someone really ought to investigate those two.  Odd it hasn't happened yet, what with Republican controlled Congress, DoJ and FBI.

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6 minutes ago, Lutherman2112 said:

I'm not in the "get him!" crowd, but we should always challenge our elected officials that seem to profit off of their elected position.

Agreed.  The craftier among our politicians (Reid, Biden) get around this by making sure their kids get the massive foreign deals, leaving them clean.  It's reprehensible.

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Just now, Sand said:

Agreed.  The craftier among our politicians (Reid, Biden) get around this by making sure their kids get the massive foreign deals, leaving them clean.  It's reprehensible.

I remember when we had signatures. And your's was this:

Quote

 

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.

 

You totally fell for it.

And you are falling for it again.

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9 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

 

Don't.

Great, now the mods are cracking down on inconsistent use of apostrophes. Wear does it end?

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1 minute ago, Gr00vus said:

Great, now the mods are cracking down on inconsistent use of apostrophes. Wear does it end?

Inconsistent?  He put the apostrophe in the same wrong place both times.

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9 hours ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Art. II, Sec. 1 of the USC:

Art. I, Sec. 9, USC:

I don't start threads too often, but when I do it's because I'm interested in the subject but I don't see a thread and I just want to see what happens with it and if people have news and thoughts on it.

Anyway this old post by Tobias seemed the closest and I just would like to break it out for future news.

So, on that point, apparently the Emoluments lawsuit against President Trump has indeed been creeping along:

- I don't really expect much to come of this but I am excited it is moving this far. I'm a fan of arcane language in the US Constitution and I view much of it as being almost typically always being unenforceable in court cases because who really has standing for such things? And yet I view them as being ghosts in the machine left there by the Founders for when we need them. Hopefully this is such an instance and this continues to trundle through to success.

Lol if this ever happens

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Just now, Sand said:

Inconsistent?  He put the apostrophe in the same wrong place both times.

At least he was in the ballpark on the second one.

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3 hours ago, Gr00vus said:

Great, now the mods are cracking down on inconsistent use of apostrophes. Wear does it end?

At least that explaination makes sense.   The other explations are absurd.   Are the Clintons (spell check automatically puts in an apostraphie btw, I had to delete that out) protected from criticism?  For some reason, the issue isn't a poster for calling Trump voters the 'dumb electorate' or making some perhap exaggerated criticism about Trump  ("No president until now has ever attempted this level of shameless profiting"), the issue is challenging such statement.  My plan was not to sidetrack the discussion, it was to challenge a claim another poster made.   Even such, if you are going to make a case against Trump, you are going to have to show Trump's behavior is unprecedented.  I was not even going to discuss it in detail until challenge by some personal comment.  The forum is ridiculous.  

Edited by jon_mx

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5 hours ago, jon_mx said:

Are the Clintons (spell check automatically puts in an apostraphie btw, I had to delete that out) protected from criticism? 

I’m not saying other presidents were immune, but they never had the issue raised. Iirc the Bushes had oil investments for instance. The Foundation didn’t exist when Clinton was president so that solves that. 

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13 hours ago, jon_mx said:

Or a thing one says when they don't want to waste time in a senseless argument that will go nowhere.  Do we really need to be debating the shamelessness of renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to raise campaign dollars from huge doners.  Or having to return furniture taken from the white house.  Or making speeches on foreign ground getting paid large chunks of cash from foreign sources while being the presumptuous next president.  Or using influence and fame from the presidency going from broke to worth well over $100 million.  At least Trump started off wealthy.  The Clinton's entire fortune is based on their political career.  Not really worth debating though, but yes there is a case.  

Did the Clintons maintain control of for-profit businesses during Bill's presidency so those businesses could shamelessly profit off people seeking access and influence?  Did they sell memorabilia with their name on it for profit?  Did Bill make foreign policy decisions that can be directly tied to boosting their business interests?  Did they conceal their tax returns so that voters couldn't even see the ways in which their policy decisions would benefit them financially?  Did they use the pulpit of the presidency to advertise their friends' for-profit ventures in what would be a clear violation of the Hatch Act if the president was not exempt from it?  Even the Lincoln Bedroom stuff was about political donations, not for-profit enterprises, and Trump not only does the same thing but he does it on a far larger scale AND he tries to hide the visitor logs.  And everything else you cited is stuff they did when they weren't even in office.

You're right that it's not really worth debating, but not for the reason you said. Or we can keep going, but if you have even a shred of common sense you know the effort is doomed. 

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14 hours ago, jon_mx said:

Or a thing one says when they don't want to waste time in a senseless argument that will go nowhere.  Do we really need to be debating the shamelessness of renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to raise campaign dollars from huge doners.  Or having to return furniture taken from the white house.  Or making speeches on foreign ground getting paid large chunks of cash from foreign sources while being the presumptuous next president.  Or using influence and fame from the presidency going from broke to worth well over $100 million.  At least Trump started off wealthy.  The Clinton's entire fortune is based on their political career.  Not really worth debating though, but yes there is a case.  

I don't know if that was deliberate, or if you meant to say "presumptive", but it's actually a neat turn of phrase, particularly with respect to Hillary during the 2013-16 period. Kind of like one of those old Archie Bunkerisms where the malaprop does a better job of highlighting the point you're trying to make than the correct word would have ("They want people like your mother on the jury because they know she doesn’t have any pre-conscrewed ideas”) :D

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1 minute ago, zftcg said:

I don't know if that was deliberate, or if you meant to say "presumptive", but it's actually a neat turn of phrase, particularly with respect to Hillary during the 2013-16 period. Kind of like one of those old Archie Bunkerisms where the malaprop does a better job of highlighting the point you're trying to make than the correct word would have ("They want people like your mother on the jury because they know she doesn’t have any pre-conscrewed ideas”) :D

I'm prostate with guilt!  - 

 

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1 hour ago, TobiasFunke said:

Did the Clintons maintain control of for-profit businesses during Bill's presidency so those businesses could shamelessly profit off people seeking access and influence?  Did they sell memorabilia with their name on it for profit?  Did Bill make foreign policy decisions that can be directly tied to boosting their business interests?  Did they conceal their tax returns so that voters couldn't even see the ways in which their policy decisions would benefit them financially?  Did they use the pulpit of the presidency to advertise their friends' for-profit ventures in what would be a clear violation of the Hatch Act if the president was not exempt from it?  Even the Lincoln Bedroom stuff was about political donations, not for-profit enterprises, and Trump not only does the same thing but he does it on a far larger scale AND he tries to hide the visitor logs.  And everything else you cited is stuff they did when they weren't even in office.

You're right that it's not really worth debating, but not for the reason you said. Or we can keep going, but if you have even a shred of common sense you know the effort is doomed. 

My comment was based on your original statement ("No president until now has ever attempted this level of shameless profiting off the presidency").  If you want to nuance it for during the presidency, then I would have to alter my point and it would be a tougher case.   But again, not worth the bandwidth.  But if we are going to discuss shamelessly profiting off the presidency, then yes the Clintons are in the discussion. 

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Just now, jon_mx said:

My comment was based on your original statement ("No president until now has ever attempted this level of shameless profiting off the presidency").  If you want to nuance it for during the presidency, then I would have to alter my point and it would be a tougher case.   But again, not worth the bandwidth.  But if we are going to discuss shamelessly profiting off the presidency, then yes the Clintons are in the discussion. 

My comment was made in the context of a discussion about being in uncharted waters re: emoluments. Of course I meant during the presidency. I didn't even think that needed to be said.

Honestly I don't much care what the Clintons or Trumps or anyone else does to make a buck when they're not serving the public, so long as it's legal and doesn't hurt anyone other than willing consumers.  But again that's not the point, and I thought that was obvious.

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25 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

But if we are going to discuss shamelessly profiting off the presidency, then yes the Clintons are in the discussion. 

I'd love to avoid the usual usual. I'm interested in history, love it actually and love to learn about it. So if you have details on past presidencies, I think it's interesting. I'm sure both Roosevelts, Jack Kennedy, both Bushes were wealthy enough, and maybe others, were able to passively make money during their presidency, but I don't think that's what the USC clauses are about. And I think guys like Clinton and Obama and who knows who else had increased income during the presidency. But I don't think that is what it's about either. I think the clauses are about the US governments (including the states) and foreign governments actually paying incomes and profits directly to sitting presidents.

And to echo Tobias' point what people are able to do with their career after the presidency isn't really relevant, or at all.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
Edit: took out the part about Carter because apparently he had to divest himself of his business.

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