To keep his business interests separate from the public’s interest, President-elect Donald Trump must move out of business entirely. The billionaire is expected to announce a comprehensive plan on how he is going to address conflicts of interest at a press conference Wednesday.
A report in Politico suggests that the only and the simple way for Trump to ward off conflict of interests is completely distancing himself from all of his businesses.
According to experts and critics, Trump can sell his businesses and put the proceeds into a blind trust or buy investments that are considered conflict-free.
The President-elect has a net worth of around $3.7 billion. At his first press conference since July on Wednesday, Trump is likely to lay out his administration’s ethics plan, according to top advisor Kellyanne Conway.
Trump Inc. IPO
Trump could take his company public, giving its control over to shareholders through an initial public offering, according to a separate report from Politico.
“Going public, and taking ownership away from Trump’s children or even another individual tycoon, would lessen the risk of anyone having too much sway with the president, as shares in the company would be widely held and traded, according to Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush,” the Politico report reads.
However, it’s unlikely that Trump will pick the IPO option due to a number of reasons. According to the newspaper, going public would expose the billionaire’s financials to scrutiny from regulators, bankers, investors and the public.
About a month ago, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said that the President-elect sold all of his stakes in different companies during the second quarter of 2016. Miller added that Trump sold his shares in banks, oil giants and other firms in order to avoid conflict of interest. Trump’s May regulatory filing revealed that the billionaire was holding shares worth about $40 million at the end of December 2015.
Democratic Bill Forcing Conflict-of-Interest Requirements on Trump
Congressional Democrats are introducing a bill that would force conflict-of-interest laws on Trump.
The laws now exempt the president-elect.
The bill, backed by 30 Democrats in the Senate and House, is designed to force Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to put any conflicted assets into an independently managed blind trust that would manage their sale. The bill also includes a requirement for all presidents and all presidential nominees to reveal three years’ worth of tax returns, according to Politico.
The bill, labeled as the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017, did not receive support from Republicans.
Trump has refused to publish his tax returns during the campaign. The president-elect is scheduled to take office on January 20th.