Public investments in Trump-operated hotel set dangerous precedent: U.S. senators

May 1, 2017, Reuters

FILE PHOTO: The Trump Soho Hotel is seen in New YorkU.S. President Donald Trump is flirting with unparalleled violations of the Constitution by not divesting himself from a hotel management company that benefits financially from public pension fund investments, according to two Democratic U.S. senators.

Reuters exclusively reported on April 26 that public pension funds in at least seven U.S. states periodically send millions of dollars to an investment fund that owns the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in New York City and pays one of Trump’s companies to run it, according to a Reuters review of public records.

The investments could put Trump at risk of violating an obscure constitutional clause that prohibits the president from receiving additional payments beyond his salary from state governments, say several constitutional lawyers. A separate constitutional clause bars the president from receiving payments from foreign governments.

Trump is “setting an extremely dangerous precedent,” said Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Friday. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut expressed similar concerns.

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