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Trump Weighs ‘Half-Blind Trust’ Option For His Businesses

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Trump Weighs ‘Half-Blind Trust’ Option For His Businesses

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Trump Organization

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is considering the use of discretionary trusts to avoid conflicts of interest for Trump family members or administration officials, Politico reported on Wednesday.

Such an arrangement would provide individuals with an alternative to selling off assets or placing wealth in blind trusts, which president-elects traditionally do.

Trump aides have discussed the idea of discretionary trusts with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), but it was unclear whether the set-up would be for Trump, his family or any of the wealthy individuals nominated to his Cabinet, according to Politico, which cited two unidentified sources briefed on the talks.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.

Among Trump’s many holdings are hotels and golf resorts from Panama to Scotland, besides a winery and modeling agency

Federal law does not prohibit the president’s involvement in private business while in office but most presidents in recent decades have placed their personal assets in blind trusts so they do not know how their decisions influence their personal fortunes.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told Politico no decisions have been made and that his team would release more details next month. Representatives for OGE declined to comment to Politico on the discussions.

Discretionary trusts “could allow Trump or his family members to reap some of the legal benefits of a blind trust, but could also give them some insight into how the Trump businesses are faring while also allowing Trump and his family to continue to make money from those investments,” Politico said.

Trump’s team has said he will address his business arrangements in January after canceling a planned Dec. 15 news conference on the issue, which looms over the New York businessman as he prepares to assume office on Jan. 20.

Executive branch officials and U.S. lawmakers, however, are subject to conflict-of-interest rules, and Democrats in Congress have called on Trump to divest himself of his vast business interests.

Trump has said he would avoid the conflict issue by transferring control of his businesses to his oldest three children, but has given no details.

Critics have said the “half-blind” discretionary trusts would allow Trump to sidestep conflict-of-interest rules and would be inappropriate, according to Politico.

(Editing by Alistair Bell)

IMAGE: U.S. real-estate mogul Donald Trump gestures next to an architectural rendering of The Trump Organization’s $200 million redevelopment of the iconic Old Post Office building into a luxury hotel, in Washington September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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23 Comments

  1. elw December 21, 2016

    I would believe strump would call this negotiating – I call it looking for a way to rip the US off. That is what charlatans do.

    Reply
    1. dpaano December 21, 2016

      And con artists……which includes Trump and many of his billionaire cronies that will be running our government (into the ground)! I hope we can survive for 4 years (unless he gets impeached before then) and that we can come up with a fantastic Democrat to run against him in 2020!!! I’m also pessimistically hoping that after 4 years of his BS, most people will realize that Republicans are NOT qualified to run this country!!!

      Reply
      1. TZToronto December 21, 2016

        Given the way he looks, I doubt that he’ll be around to run in 2020. And if he doesn’t pay off his creditors, now that he has control of the country’s purse strings, his own palace guard may be “encouraged” by those creditors to resolve things.

        Reply
      2. elw December 22, 2016

        They really are very stupid con artists – look at how often they get caught. Eventually we will be hearing people yelling – Throw him in jail.

        Reply
        1. dpaano December 22, 2016

          I understand that he nominated another “pay to play” crony to his group, along with Conway (the “blonde bimbo”) as his advisor. I can see why…..she’s as big a liar as he is! I don’t understand why our current government hasn’t done ANYTHING about his nominations and the fact that each and every one of them donated big-time to his campaign. If that isn’t “pay to play” on steroids, I don’t know what is! He’s such a hypocrite because he accused Hillary of doing the very same thing he’s currently doing!

          Reply
          1. elw December 22, 2016

            The current administration can do nothing about his picks but criticize. As soon as trump and the new Congress is sworn in there will be hearing for Trumps picks – mostly he will get who he wants. How much grief he get over his picks will depend on how honest the GOP dominated Congress is and how much they dislike the new cabinet members. Not much hope there. However, Dems are right now in a back room making plans. The hearings will be contentious. In addition, if the big orange – what ever he is – keeps insulting the various departments in the Justice Department he will be in for lots of leaks and investigations; it is never wise to tick them off. As far as Conway goes – Trump seems to think he has put her in some kind of historic position for women??? I think it is an insulting one. I guess he did not remember that there has already been women in the SOS position – at least three of them. I believe that is much better than a Secretary with a fancy title.

            Reply
  2. Stuart December 21, 2016

    Lock him up.

    Reply
    1. Claudiawroberts December 22, 2016

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      Reply
  3. yabbed December 21, 2016

    Trump is an unscrupulous failed business man always running a con game of the unsophisticated and just plain dumb. He still has thousands of civil lawsuits plus that criminal case involving rape of a 13 year old. He really is a throughly disgusting pig.

    Reply
  4. OverthecliffRepublicans December 21, 2016

    Half blind trust is an apt description of his gullible supporters. He needs to completely divest his holdings. No half measures.

    Reply
  5. dpaano December 21, 2016

    I’m wondering if his nominees for his cabinet and departments are going to divest themselves of their OWN business interests? You’ve got the new Secretary of State, who runs a major oil company; you’ve got Perry, who is on the board of several companies (including the one in dispute with the Indians as we speak); you’ve got many others that have their grimy little hands in all sorts of businesses that would be major conflicts of interest to them in the positions they’ve been nominated for!
    Additionally, the article says all previous presidents have divested themselves of their business dealings……well, Trump is different. Not only will he NOT do that, he also refuses to give up his tax returns….like most all previous presidents have done!

    Reply
    1. TZToronto December 21, 2016

      The only reason I can think of for not releasing tax returns is that you don’t want people to see what’s in them. And if you don’t want people to see what’s in your tax returns, why is that? It must be that you don’t want people to know anything about your financial affairs. If you’ve done nothing illegal (and so far Trump has not been charged with tax evasion, as far as I know), then you must be fearful of the legal things that people would find–and why is that? Trump would rather have people speculate about what he’s hiding than clear things up by revealing his financial assets and liabilities. I think he has personal debts to questionable creditors. I think he’s given nothing from his own pocket to charities. I think he’s had personal financial losses for a number of years and doesn’t want people to know that he can’t handle even his personal accounts without losing money. It may also be the case that Trump has tried to deduct illegal bribes to government officials, and these would appear in his income tax returns–even though they would not be allowed. If it’s true that he is under audit, it could be because he’s been trying to get away with the same illegal deductions for years. Who knows? I’m just speculating, and Trump could show that I’m wrong by releasing his tax returns, but he won’t.

      Reply
      1. dpaano December 22, 2016

        From what I understand, the IRS is currently investigating him for tax fraud for the BIGLY loss that he took many years ago, plus the illegal donations to and from his so-called “foundation.” Not sure where that will go once he’s inaugurated and is basically in charge of the IRS. Should be interesting, especially since we’ve heard nothing further about this investigation.

        Reply
  6. itsfun December 22, 2016

    Not sure, but I think by law all cabinet members must put their businesses in a blind trust. The President and Vice President are not required to do this. In most of our past elections, the children of the President have been under 18 and not involved in the family business. Now we have a President-elect who has children that are executives in the family business. Should these children be forced to quit their jobs? Should the children of the President be forced to give up all of their executive duties in the family business?

    Reply
    1. Zengo December 22, 2016

      should they be allowed to sit in on meetings with heads of state?

      Reply
      1. itsfun December 22, 2016

        I don’t know.

        Reply
        1. Zengo December 22, 2016

          Well, if they aren’t government officials on some level then the only possible reason they would want to be in on that kind of meeting is to push an agenda, like trying to make business inroads in whatever country. So I think not.

          Reply
          1. itsfun December 22, 2016

            What if their company is negotiating to purchase government owned land with another country and negotiating is part of their job?

            Reply
          2. Zengo December 22, 2016

            don’t you see the conflict of interest?

            Reply
          3. itsfun December 22, 2016

            I am just asking the questions, I don’t know if the relatives of a President should be forced to quit their jobs or lose them because they are kin to the President. As you know the President and Vice President are exempt from the conflict of interest laws. I don’t know if their children even fall under these laws.

            Reply
          4. Zengo December 22, 2016

            I don’t think in any normal situation that would be the case, but he wants his spawn to be involved in govt and his business and that is a no go

            Reply
          5. itsfun December 22, 2016

            There is nothing normal about the situation. How many past Presidents have had children in the positions the Trump children are in. That is what got me to asking the question in the first place.

            Reply
          6. Zengo December 22, 2016

            right, but it is a choice for them to be there. This stuff isn’t vague, just because it hasn’t happened in the recent past

            Reply

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