Having a president whose personal wealth could be impacted by his policy decisions presents a huge potential problem, according to Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “Public officials need to be making decisions that are in the public interest, that are in the best interest of the American people,” he said. “Not decisions that are in their own financial interests.”
While Trump has not released his tax returns since 1981, he has filed a mandatory personal financial disclosure statement, listing his current holdings and estimating their value. The 104-page document identifies hundreds of Trump-run companies — foreign and domestic — and scores of businesses in which he owns stock.
These hundreds of entities pose nearly endless conflicts. In a Trump presidency, every government contract not awarded to his companies could be litigated, environmental regulations that affect his businesses could be instantly repealed, and long-fought banking regulations could be dismantled at the drop of a hat. And that’s just from looking at his financial disclosure form; because Trump refuses to release his tax returns, scores of conflicts of interest remain unknown.
Here is just a small sampling of how, with the power of the presidency, Donald Trump could manipulate policy and enforcement to directly benefit his own financial holdings.
Trump could favor government contractors in which he owns stock.
Trump could direct the IRS to stop auditing people like him.
Trump could unilaterally repeal environmental regulations that affect his businesses and investments.
Trump could alter winery regulations to favor Trump Vineyard Estates and/or harm his competitors.
Trump could push tax laws that benefit himself and his family.
Trump could dismantle the post-meltdown Wall Street banking reforms to aid his own real estate financing.
Trump could intimidate banks to make risky investments for him.
Trump could influence foreign policy and tourism rules to benefit international hotels and golf courses.