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Maryland, Dist of Columbia Sue Over Govt Payments to Trump Hotels

The attorneys general claimed that government payments to Trump’s businesses violate the US Constitution.

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The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming that government payments to President Donald Trump's businesses violate the US Constitution.

Payments to the president's enterprises from foreign and domestic governments through his hospitality empire draw business away from Maryland and DC venues and put local governments under pressure to give Trump-owned businesses special treatment, according to the complaint.

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Foreign and domestic government payments to Trump's businesses were the target of a similar lawsuit brought in January by plaintiffs including an ethics nonprofit group, and Democratic lawmakers have blasted them as potential corrupting influences on Trump.

The Trump Organization has said it will donate profits from customers representing foreign governments to the US Treasury but will not require the customers to identify themselves.

Every time the president has spoken about drawing a line between his presidency and his businesses, he’s walked those promises back.
DC Attorney General Karl Racine
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The Maryland and DC attorneys general are seeking an order in US District Court in Maryland preventing Trump from continuing to receive government payments beyond his salary.

The attorneys general argued they had standing to sue Trump because their citizens will be harmed if payments to Trump are used to influence his allocation of federal funds. They also said local hospitality companies, including state-owned facilities, are being harmed.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday rejected the claim that Trump's business interests violated the Constitution and said "partisan politics" were behind the lawsuit. Trump's lawyers will likely move to dismiss the case, he said.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

While Trump turned over management of the umbrella Trump Organization in January to a trust controlled by his two elder sons, he still owns his businesses, including the Trump International Hotel in Washington, and can draw revenue from them at any time.

(With inputs from Reuters.)

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Topics:  Lawsuit   US Constitution 

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