Traditions need replaced with rules

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It has been a tradition that a president is transparent in his financial dealings and is removed from any control of financial holdings that could be affected by his decisions as president.

Donald Trump is defying that tradition.

A few of Trump’s conflicts of interest are apparent. His new $212 million hotel in Washington, D.C., is in a building leased for $3 million a year from the federal government. His companies owe more than $300 million to Deutsche Bank, against whom the Justice Department is seeking a $14 billion fine to settle claims from the mortgage meltdown.

Worse than what is apparent are the numerous tangled interests that are hidden from the scrutiny of the public. Trump is turning over control of his financial empire to family members. This is not the same as creating a blind trust, not even close.

A minor, but rather telling incident occurred following an appearance by Donald and Ivanka Trump on “60 minutes.” Trump employees sent email alerts advertising the $10,800 gold-and-diamond bracelet “as seen on 60 Minutes.” Following an uproar regarding the inappropriateness of that promotion, it was explained away as the action of an overeager employee.

Congress needs to close the ethical loopholes in the office of the presidency.