Congressman Nadler Cosponsors The Presidential Accountability Act of 2016
Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, announced his co-sponsorship of the Presidential Accountability Act of 2016 (H.R. 6340), which would extend current federal conflict of interest laws to the President and Vice President of the United States.
Federal conflict of interest law prohibits executive branch office holders from engaging in government business in which they stand to gain profit. To avoid these conflicts and eliminate criminal liability, office holders are allowed to place their assets in a qualified blind trust. However, the President and Vice President are currently exempt from this law.
Previous American presidents including Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have all used some form of blind trust or placed their assets in an investment vehicle over which they had no control.
Unfortunately, the actions of President-elect Trump, his family, and transition team have highlighted the need to eliminate this exemption. From the Trump Organization’s federal contract to operate the President-elect’s hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, D.C. to the scale of his debt to foreign banks, the President-elect’s business interests present an unprecedented level of conflict.
H.R. 6340 would address these conflicts by extending a tailored version of the law that governs executive branch employees to the President and Vice President. It contains a safe harbor provision for assets held in a certified blind trust and an exemption/disclosure mechanism for any other assets. Finally, it prohibits the President and Vice President from entering into a contract with the United States government.