Action Alerts · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Tell Congress to Tell Trump to Fully Comply With The Emoluments Clause

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Tell your House Rep that you want Trump to comply with the Constitution by fully and properly tracking the payments that his businesses receive from foreign governments.


A previous OTYCD post noted how Trump was in violation of the Constitution the day he took office, because of the Emoluments clause, which states that the president cannot receive gifts or payments from foreign governments. Having hotels and resorts all over the world–Washington D.C. included–with his name on them complicates the matter significantly.


In order to have a hope of complying, Trump has to track all the payments his many and varied business entities receive. Initially, his organization promised that it would donate all the profits it earned from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.


Well, on May 24, the Trump organization said it was not going to do the full due diligence required to be in compliance with the Emoluments clause, evidently because it’s just too damn hard. In an eight-page pamphlet it sent to the House Oversight Committee, it stated:

“To fully and completely identify all patronage at our Properties by customer type is impractical in the service industry and putting forth a policy that requires all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand.”


Elijah Cummings, minority leader of the house committee, shot back with deserved anger, saying the pamphlet “raised grave concerns about the president’s refusal to comply with the Constitution.”


We at OTYCD are asking you to back Cummings up by calling your house reps and demanding that the Trump organization do everything it can to get right with the Constitution, even if it’s wildly inconvenient. The sanctity of the Constitution is more important than the “guest experience” at Trump’s properties.


If your house rep IS Elijah Cummings, call him to thank him for doing the right thing.


Otherwise, riff off of this sample script:

“Dear House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code), and I am calling to ask you to demand that the Trump organization do everything it can to prove that its business entities are in compliance with the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. In late May, the organization said it would not do the work involved in confirming that its entities were respecting the Constitution because doing so might affect the quality of the “guest experience” at Trump hotels and resorts. Well, maybe Trump should have thought that through before he ran for president. The Constitution is priceless. The guest experience at Trump properties is not. If his guests have to suffer a little to ensure that the Constitution receives due respect, that’s a small price to pay, and Trump can eat it.”



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Read about the Trump organization’s refusal to fully comply with the standards required by the Constitution:



Read the eight-page pamphlet that team Trump prepared for the House Oversight Committee:



Read Elijah Cummings’s rejoinder:

Call Your House Rep · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause

Tell Trey Gowdy and the House Oversight Committee to Stay on the Trump-Russia Probe

Tell Trey Gowdy and his colleagues on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to keep pursuing the Trump-Russia probe.

Gowdy, who represents South Carolina, became the Republican chair of the committee after Utah’s Jason Chaffetz announced he would resign from his house seat. Gowdy, who hassled Hillary Clinton with Benghazi investigation after Benghazi investigation, recently announced that, in general, the House committee would not pursue matters that relate to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether and how Trump’s campaign might be involved.

His excuse seems to be that special counsel Robert Mueller is on the case and he wants to steer clear and let him handle things. Gowdy also said that the House committee might investigate in specific, narrowly defined instances. While that might sound reasonable on its face, Gowdy’s Democratic counterpart, Elijah Cummings, sharply countered that sentiment with salient points. The Washington Post quoted Cummings as saying:

“It is a known fact that interference in our election will happen again if we do not take serious steps to prevent it,” he said. “The voters did not send us here to sit on the sidelines while our government is getting attacked. Chairman Gowdy is a very talented lawyer, and I believe he and I can work together to investigate this and make reforms to prevent it from happening again.”

Please call your house reps and urge them to continue to investigate #TrumpRussia matters, even though Robert Mueller is on the case. They should sit and figure out how best not to step on Mueller’s toes rather than giving up and stepping aside completely. Tell them you expect them to stay on this.

Important. Is your House Rep a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee? Then it’s extra-important that you call. See the link below, which lists all the current members:


If your House rep is a Democrat: “Hello House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code,) and I am calling to ask you to continue to support investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and investigations into whether Trump and his campaign team colluded with them. I am concerned that the new Republican committee chair, Trey Gowdy, will assume that giving Robert Mueller room to do his work means that the House is off the hook. It is not. Please urge the committee to do the extra, upfront work it needs to do to respect Mueller’s efforts while staying on top of its own responsibilities in this regard. Thank you.


If your House rep is a Republican: “Hello House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code,) and I am calling to ask you to vigorously support House-led investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and investigations into whether Trump and his campaign team colluded with them. I am concerned that the new Republican committee chair, Trey Gowdy, will assume that giving Robert Mueller room to do his work means that his Congressional committee is off the hook. It is not. Please urge Gowdy and his colleagues to do the extra, upfront work they need to do to respect Mueller’s efforts while staying on top of its own responsibilities in this regard. And if they use that upfront work to hamper and frustrate the work of the House investigators, please call them out early and often. Thank you.


Read stories about how Gowdy was chosen to succeed Chaffetz, and stories that quote Gowdy saying that while he is chair, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will not chase Trump-Russia investigations:


Read about the partisan shens Gowdy got up to as chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi:


Call Your House Rep · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Support House Rep Elijah Cummings’s Call to Investigate Trump’s Ethics Issues

ICYMI: Call your House rep to support Elijah Cummings’s call to investigate Trump’s tangled finances.

Jason Chaffetz, the Republican leader of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was gung-ho to investigate Hillary Clinton’s foibles, but has shown nowhere near the enthusiasm for looking into the many and varied ethics snarls posed by our new president, Donald Trump.

In fact, Chaffetz has targeted Walter Shaub, head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), for criticizing the inadequacy of Trump’s attempts to resolve his conflicts of interest. He is trying to force Shaub into a closed-door meeting, presumably to berate him. (Scroll down for a previous OTYCD post on how to support Shaub.)

Elijah Cummings is Chaffetz’s counterpart on the committee. If the Democrats had the majority in the house, Cummings would lead the committee, not Chaffetz.

In November, Cummings called on Chaffetz to start an investigation into Trump’s finances and any potential conflicts of interest they might pose. He spoke in mid-November, not long after the election, which might explain why it never quite broke through. But it is only growing more evident that Congress needs to launch an investigation, and Chaffetz’s committee exists to do it.

Is your House rep on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee? If so, it is extra-important that you call and make your voice heard. Look at the link below before you pick up the phone.


Sample script for your House rep: I am (Firstname Lastname) from (town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support House rep Elijah Cummings’s request to his colleague, Jason Chaffetz, to launch an investigation into Trump’s finances. Cummings asked for an investigation back in November and Chaffetz has not yet acted. This needs to move ahead. Please do what you can to make it happen.


You can also call the House Oversight Committee to voice your support for Cummings’s request.

The majority (Republican) office is: 202.225.5074

The minority (Democratic) office is: 202.225.5051


More on Cummings’s request of Chaffetz for an investigation of Trump’s finances:


This Washington Post opinion piece from January 18 cites a Salt Lake Tribune poll that shows that Chaffetz’s Utah constituents support an investigation of Trump’s conflicts of interest by two to one:


In case you missed it, a previous OTYCD post asked you to call your House rep to defend Walter Shaub, head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE):

Thank You Actions

Thank-you Thursday: Jerrold Nadler, Jason Chaffetz, Elijah Cummings, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins


Here’s a running tally of people, companies, and others to thank for pushing back against Trump. The most recent thank-you actions are at the top.

Thank Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Democratic Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico for calling out the president for his exceptionally public mishandling of sensitive information, and for demanding that their Republican counterparts do something about it.

The senators’ joint statement, released on February 13, read in part:

“During the campaign, we listened to month upon month of Donald Trump complaining about the handling of important national security information.  We’ve had years of inconclusive investigations by House Republicans over emails and classified documents.  Now we have unknown and unvetted Mar-a-Lago members looking over the President’s shoulder as he conducts our foreign policy.

“This is America’s foreign policy, not this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live.  We urge our Republican colleagues to start taking this Administration’s rash and unprofessional conduct seriously before there are consequences we all regret.”


Contact information for Sheldon Whitehouse:

170 Westminster St., Ste. 200

Providence, R.I. 02903

401.453.5294 (Constituents only, please)


Contact information for Tom Udall:

400 Gold Ave., SW, Suite 300

Albuquerque, NM 87102

505.346.6791 (Constituents only, please)


See the joint statement from Whitehouse and Udall here:



Thank New York House Representative Jerrold Nadler for filing a resolution of inquiry against Donald Trump. Nadler sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which is the body that handles such requests. A resolution of inquiry is an early step on the road to impeachment.

Nadler’s resolution includes this statement (care of

“Donald Trump has refused to step away from his business interests in any meaningful way. His foreign entanglements are likely unconstitutional, he has repeatedly refused to disclose his financial assets, and he is clouded by the specter of Russian intervention in the election and his Administration.”


Nadler’s contact information:

6605 Fort Hamilton Parkway

Brooklyn, NY 11219

718.373.3198 (Constituents only, please)


See the item on Nadler’s action:


Thank Utah House Representative Jason Chaffetz and Maryland House Representative Elijah Cummings for asking the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to discipline Kellyanne Conway for asking citizens to purchase Ivanka Trump products.

Chaffetz is the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee; Cummings is his Democratic counterpart. It is extra-important to thank Chaffetz for making this move because he has shown reluctance to go after Trump’s conflicts, despite having vigorously pursued investigations into Hillary Clinton. But you should send thank-yous to both.


Contact information:


Jason Chaffetz

51 S University Ave.

Suite 318

Provo UT 84601

801.851.2500 (Constituents only, please)


Elijah Cummings

754 Frederick Road

Catonsville MD 21228

410.685.9199 (Constituents only, please)



Read this Vox story about Conway’s ethical error:


See the bipartisan letter to the OGE:


Thank Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine Senator Susan Collins for voting against Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education.

Democrats fought hard against DeVos’s confirmation; all 48 voted against her. Remarkably, two Republicans joined them. Collins and Murkowski voted no because their constituents called and emailed and asked them to do so.

Unquestionably, they came under a lot of pressure from Mitch McConnell and their party colleagues to vote yes. But they listened to the people who voted for them, and they put them first.

Please thank both of them for their bravery.


Lisa Murkowski

Federal Building

101 12th Avenue, Suite 329

Fairbanks, AK 99701

907.456.0233 (Constituents only, please)


Susan Collins

68 Sewall Street, Room 507

Augusta, ME 04330

207.622.8414 (Constituents only, please)