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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Recent Trump win on China trademark raises ethics questions

Erika Kinetz
Associated Press
Originally published February 14, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Ethics lawyers say the trademarks present conflicts of interest for Trump and may violate the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which bars public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless explicitly approved by Congress.

Countries could use Trump's desire to control his brand to extend — or withhold — favor, especially a nation such as China where the courts and bureaucracy reflect the imperatives of the ruling Communist Party.

"There can be no question that it is a terrible idea for Donald Trump to be accepting the registration of these valuable property rights from China while he's a sitting president of the United States," said Norman Eisen, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer for President Barack Obama. "It's fair to conclude that this is an effort to influence Mr. Trump that is relatively inexpensive for the Chinese, potentially very valuable to him, but it could be very costly for the United States."

The article is here.
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