Donald Trump’s labyrinthine business dealings take an admixture of detective, lawyer, and financial wiz to examine. The Trump Organization has far-flung global interests in everything from hotels and real estate to TV and apparel. George Washington Law professor Steven Schooner is up for the job. Because somebody has to do the work the American people don’t have the time or resources to do — and that’s find out if and when Donald Trump may be using elected office, the highest one of all, to advance his business interests and enrich himself. The opportunities for him to do it are myriad — just think of the coincidence that the Chinese government suddenly granted 38 new trademarks to Trump — trademarks he was having trouble getting before his rise to power.
So Professor Schooner — Nash & Cibinic Professor of Government Procurement Law and Co-Director of the Government Procurement Law Program at GW– has made it a mission to join the vigilant watchdog force concerning Trump’s potential conflicts of interest. Things like the Chinese trademarks are alarming because there’s a little thing called the Foreign Emoluments Clause in the Constitution that seeks to stop the president from using his power to do private deals or receive favorable treatment from foreign governments. And that doesn’t even consider the domestic opportunities for profit and conflict, say with the new Trump Hotel in Washington. Schooner is part of a widening group looking over Trump’s shoulder. Trump may not see him yet. But Schooner and his colleagues have their eyes peeled. Follow Schooner @ProfSchooner.