A federal lawsuit that named President Donald Trump as a defendant was dismissed by Judge George B. Daniels. The plaintiffs were led by Citizens for Responsibility of Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government watchdog group. The federal lawsuit, filed three days after Trump’s inauguration, alleged that President Trump violated the U.S. Constitution by renting out hotel and meeting rooms to other governments. The plaintiffs argued that this amounted to President Trump accepting gifts from foreign governments (which, if true, would violate a constitutional provision that forbids the acceptance of foreign emoluments. An emolument is a salary or money that is paid from employment or an office).
The plaintiffs also alleged that President Trump and his businesses harmed companies and workers who are considered competitors because of their work in the hospitality industry. They allege that President Trump took advantage of his position in order to receive the emoluments.
Judge Daniels: Emolument Clause Not Intended to Protect Competing Businesses
Judge George B. Daniels presided over and dismissed the lawsuit. He found that the emolument clause was designed to protect against presidential corruption from foreign influences or foreign financial incentive, it was not designed to protect private competing businesses from businesses owned by someone elected as the President of the United States.