Donald Trump's Businesses Pose New Conflict Of Interest Questions (NPR)


Trevor Potter, former head of the Federal Election Commission, says that represents a big conflict of interest for the president-elect.

"You're going to have a situation where the president appoints the head of GSA, and then the president's most visible asset in Washington is potentially subject to negotiation with that person over the terms of the lease and any changes in the lease," Potter says.

Potter says he's surprised there wasn't more attention focused during the campaign on the many potential problems that Trump's businesses might create. The president-elect has borrowed from foreign banks his administration will regulate. He does business in countries that are vital U.S. allies. And he has lots of pending lawsuits working their way through federal court.

"The number of problems is actually sort of mind-boggling," Potter says.

Just as important, Potter says, other countries could end up giving the Trump Organization special treatment in an effort to influence him.

"If his daughter or his son-in-law turns up in a foreign capital to negotiate a business deal on behalf of the Trump business, that foreign government is going to certainly think they're doing business with the family of the president of the United States, which indeed they will be," Potter says.

And because the Trump businesses are privately held, they don't have to release much information to the public about their operations. So there's going to be no real way to tell what Trump's companies are doing and how their goals may intersect or conflict with his administration's policies.

This piece was published on November 10, 2016 by NPRListen here.

Trevor Potter is a former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. He is one of the country's best-known and most experienced campaign and election lawyers, he is the founder and President of the Campaign Legal Center