Monday, November 21, 2016

TRUMP INC - Conflicts of Interest

"Many potential conflicts of interest await Trump presidency" PBS NewsHour 11/16/2016

IMHO:  There ARE conflicts of interest.


SUMMARY:  The Trump Organization's assets and arrangements span the globe.  As president, Donald Trump will have the authority to appoint people to make decisions that could affect his organization.  To discuss the potential conflicts the president-elect could face, John Yang speaks with Robert Weissman of Public Citizen and Susanne Craig of The New York Times.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  The Trump Organization has a variety of assets and arrangements that span the globe.  And, as President, Mr. Trump will have the authority to appoint people who will make decisions that affect those businesses.

Here to discuss the potential for conflict is Robert Weissman, president of nonprofit public interest group Public Citizen, and in New York, Susanne Craig, a New York Times reporter who has writing about this story.

Welcome to you both.

Susanne, let me start with you.

This is a very complicated story.  There are a lot of parts to president-elect Trump's business holdings.  But I think the easiest example is the Trump International Hotel here in Washington, D.C.  Walk us through the potential for conflicts with that hotel.

SUSANNE CRAIG, The New York Times:  It's really interesting.

This is a hotel that just opened, and it's been — it's been in progress for a few years, and it's on the site of the old post office, which is a government property.  And Donald Trump has a ground lease for 60 years, the Trump Organization, for 60 years, to run the hotel out of that.

So there's an arrangement between the federal government, an agency called the GSA, and the Trump Organization.  And the President has the power to appoint the head of the GSA.  So it's just this incredible situation where you have got a private company that will now be — that is owned by soon to be the President that will be negotiating with a government agency where the head of that agency is appointed by the President.

So just the potential there for conflict, you can just see it coming 100 miles away.  And the GSA is already saying they are preparing for it and they're looking at it.  Imagine that situation and multiply it by so many when you look at all the different things that could happen with the various companies that Donald Trump owns and the business interests that he has.

JOHN YANG:  And, also, Susanne, in that hotel are workers who might want to unionize.

SUSANNE CRAIG:  Who might want to unionize.

And this situation's actually been playing out in Las Vegas, where he co-owns a hotel in Las Vegas, and that hotel has — the workers there have tried to unionize, and the National Labor Relations Board, which has got presidential appointees on it, has actually — the board has ruled against Donald Trump even in the days before the election, so yet another example playing out in real time already where you have got conflict between the private — the private holdings and now government agencies that will have presidential appointees on them.

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