Trump’s Financial Disclosures Are Meaningless

President Trump has repeatedly argued that there is no need for him to release his tax returns because his financial disclosures give us the same information we would obtain from his tax returns. Specifically, Trump argues through his financial disclosure forms that because he is no longer listed as the head of his numerous companies, he doesn’t have any conflict of interest. Well, now we find out courtesy of CNN’s OutFront with Erin Burnett that Trump’s financial disclosures are deceptive and thus meaningless.

Erin Burnett citing a consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said, “Public Citizen did some digging by looking into Trump’s federal financial disclosures and found that Trump did remove his name as the owner of more than 500 assets once he became President but [that is] on paper, not in reality. The Truth, Public Citizen found, the assets Trump transferred ownership to can be traced back to one person and that one person is President Trump…..Which means Trump still has a vested interest in making sure his businesses are doing well, businesses that receive money every single day from people trying to influence or carry favor from the President.”

Bottom line folks, we do not need Erin Burnett to prove to us that Trump is in serious and constant violation of the constitution’s emoluments clause. The clamor for his tax returns should be an issue of the utmost urgency and Congress must deal ruthlessly with corrupt public officials like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who continue to abuse their positions to hide Trump’s tax returns. Time has come for Congress to exercise its rarely used powers and jail Steven Mnuchin for contempt of Congress!!

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Trump Family’s Deceptive Trade Practices

A CNN Special Report by Erin Burnett exposed some stunning deceptive practices employed by the Trump family in their real estate dealings. Some of the deceptive statements the Trumps used to lure in real estate investors are borderline criminal fraud. According to the CNN Special Report, the Trump family essentially embarked on real estate projects worldwide and then made false media pronouncements that their properties were sold out in an effort to lure in investors. Non-suspecting investors then pumped money into what they believed were very profitable Trump properties only to be hit by bankruptcy notices resulting in severe losses. The full CNN Special Report titled “The Trump Family Business” is available here but the relevant clip is below

In 2009 Ivanka Trump for example told CBS regarding the Trump Tower Toronto project, “We have projects all over the world that are incredibly successful and that are virtually sold out…from Hawaii to Toronto to Istanbul.” However according to Erin Burnett, bankruptcy papers filed for the Toronto project years later totally contradicted Ivanka’s statement to CBS. Turns out a whopping 75% of the “sold out” Toronto building remained unoccupied.

Similar shocking deceptive practices were also employed at Trump’s SOHO project where Ivanka told reporters in 2008 that 60% of the units had been sold. It later turned out upon further inspection that contrary to Ivanka’s assertion, only 15% of the units had been sold. Even more troubling about the SOHO project is the fact that there were email exchanges between Ivanka and Trump’s eldest son Don Jr showing that the two were willfully lying to investors about the occupancy rates at Trump SOHO. This apparently led to a lawsuit which the Trump family settled with the terms remaining secret.

Bottom line as Erin Burnett’s Special Report points out, a lot of these real estate investors who were lured into investing based on gross misrepresentations by the Trumps, ended up losing large sums of money. These were not just harmless sales gimmicks employed by the Trumps. Even though it is unlikely that any criminal prosecution could be initiated against Trump’s adult children(statute of limitations), the only decent cause of action for them given their current status in society(Presidential children) would be to make a public apology to the investors who got crushed by their deceptive trade practices.

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Paxtons Are A Symbol Of Texas GOP’s Corruption

Texas Attorney-General and his wife State Senator Angela Paxton

A lot has been made about the corruption of the Trump administration and Republicans generally at the national level, and deservedly so. Very little however is said about the entrenched corruption among Republicans at the state level, especially in so-called “Red States” like Texas that have a GOP trifecta–control of the Judiciary, Legislature and Executive Branch.

Hopefully this bombshell piece by Texas Tribune will open the door to more coverage of the entrenched GOP Corruption in the Lone Star State and other “Red States”

The Texas Tribune piece above goes into great detail about how State Senator Angela Paxton’s new bill opens her up to charges of corruption. So in order to avoid redundancy, Yours Truly will do what he does best–cut to the chase and tell grassroots Democrats what is corrupt/swampy about Senator Paxton’s bill.

You will remember that in 2015, Texas Attorney-General was indicted and charged for violating a Texas securities law–essentially giving investment advice that he was not authorized to give. In Texas, as in many other states, one is required to register with the state board before giving investment advice. Giving investment advice without registering with the state board is a third degree felony in Texas (2-10 years jail). There are many reasons for the state board registration requirement, key among them curbing corruption/self dealing. If I am a major shareholder at a large Texas company, and I am advising someone/ a corporation to make a major investment in the same company, the folks at the Texas state board can easily sniff out the self dealing because they will have records of all my financial entanglements. Simply put, it is a very important anti-corruption measure to have investment advisers register with the Texas state board.

Angela Paxton the wife of Texas AG Ken Paxton ran for office in 2018 and was elected Texas State Senator for Senate District 8(SD 8). One of her first actions as a Texas legislator was introducing Senate Bill 860 (SB860) which among other things, seeks to make it legal for someone to give investment advice without registering with the Texas state board–the same thing her husband is currently in trouble for. It’s not hard to see why the naked self-dealing/corruption that is inherent in Sen Paxton’s SB860 has sparked outrage in Texas. Sadly however, this is just a sample of the kind of entrenched corruption that is commonplace in “Red States” like Texas that never get the mainstream media attention they deserve. Hopefully from here on out the Texas Tribune and other major Texas publications will expose instances of public corruption like the one exhibited by the Paxtons. Yours Truly will certainly make #TexasSwamp a major topic of debate especially as we approach the 2020 elections.

Bottom line if Democrats hope to turn Texas blue, they have to make the entrenched GOP Corruption a key campaign issue in 2020 and beyond. Maybe just maybe this may be the key to Democrats capturing the coveted US Senate seat currently held by John Cornyn in 2020.

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Who Paid Acting AG Matthew Whitaker $1.2 Million?

Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today dropped a bombshell on ABC’s This Week show saying Acting AG Matthew Whitaker received some $1.2 million dollars in income to defend Trump on TV but nobody knows the source of the money.


Sen Klobuchar told host George Stephanopoulos;
“There are court cases going on that are questioning this appointment of someone[Whitaker] that is literally a walking conflict who got $1.2 million, the most he ever got in his life, to go on TV to protect Donald Trump and we have no idea where that money came from, and so I am asking where did that money come from?”

Different arguments have been made as to why Matthew Whitaker is unfit to fill the AG spot vacated by Jeff Sessions but none is as powerful as the conflict of interest argument advanced by Senator Klobuchar. As the Senator aptly put it, Whitaker is “literally a walking conflict” and must not be allowed to fill the AG spot without vetting by the U.S. Senate.

Bottom line, Democrats both in the House and Senate must put up a fight to protect Mueller probe and highlighting Acting AG Whitaker’s numerous conflicts of interest, including this mysterious $1.2 million payment is a very good starting point.

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Trump’s Corruption Over New FBI Building

President Trump in a meeting with GSA Head Emily Murphy over FBI Building

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently did a bombshell segment in which she exposed what appears to be a blatant corruption case involving General Services Administration’s Emily Murphy and President Trump who appointed her to run that federal agency. The full maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

According to Maddow the entire corruption scheme revolves around plans to build a new FBI building to replace the old and dilapidated one that currently sits only a few blocks from Trump Hotel DC.It turns out the original plan was to abandon the current FBI site and instead build a sprawling state of the art FBI complex at some suburban DC location. The developer would then be allowed to tear down the current dilapidated FBI building that sits a few blocks from Trump Hotel DC and use that prime real estate location to develop any property of their choice.

It was well known that among the properties that would be developed in this prime real estate location would be a high end hotel–and therein lies the whole corruption scheme. The idea that there were plans to build a new high end hotel only a few blocks from Trump Hotel DC was one that clearly didn’t sit well with Trump and as you might have guessed already, the original plan to build a new sprawling FBI complex in suburban DC was abruptly scrapped and replaced with a new plan to tear down the old FBI building and build a new one at the same location.

Naturally all the alarms went off with this dramatic change of plans regarding where to build the new FBI building with Dems questioning the GSA Administrator whether Trump ordered her to make this decision. In her testimony before congress, GSA Administrator Emily Smith said the dramatic change in plans was entirely an FBI decision and had nothing to do with Trump.


Well there is concrete evidence now proving that the GSA Administrator made a bold faced lie to congress and that Trump indeed ordered her to make the dramatic change in plans regarding the location of the new FBI building–a clear cut conflict of interest for Trump. There is no question that this was a decision made to benefit Trump Hotel DC–the quintessential government corruption.

Bottom line GSA head Emily Murphy needs to be held accountable. Under normal times the stunning revelation by Maddow alone would have been enough to shame her into resignation. But given the current political climate we find ourselves in, there is no likelihood of that happening. Dems and the mainstream media must therefore demand that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy be held accountable not just for her blatant corrupt actions but also because she made a bold faced lie to congress–a felony.

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The Obscene Trump-Fox News Relationship

Trump and Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo

When regular people encounter obscene images on the internet and elsewhere, the natural reaction is to recoil in dismay. Strangely however, America is witnessing daily an obscene relationship between President Trump and Fox News with seemingly no “recoiling in dismay” from politicians (especially Dems) or other sections of the mainstream media..

This lack of dismay/outrage at the obscene relationship between President Trump and Fox News leaves the wrong impression that this is okay/acceptable. Folks, this is not acceptable and Dems need to start screaming about it. There has to be a reasonable distance between the White House and a major U.S. news organization



Luckily Brian Stelter host of CNN’s Reliable Sources gets it and is beginning to call out this obscene relationship between Trump and Fox News. In this must-watch July 8 2018 segment, Seltzer details how Fox News and Trump are engaged in conduct no other U.S. administration has ever engaged in with a major news organization–the stuff of state run tv stations in foreign dictatorships.

Stelter for example talks about how Maria Bartiromo literally handed Trump talking points in what was supposed to be an interview. Or how Trump promotes Sean Hannity’s show to his twitter followers and gets regular advice from him(Hannity) on political matters. Or how Lou Dobbs calls into Oval Office meetings to give his opinions(wow). Or how Kimberly Guilfoyle is now dating Trump’s son yet still appears as a host on Fox News discussing the Trump family. Or how Jeanine Pirro asked Trump for a job at DOJ. Or how Trump at the suggestion of Sean Hannity is now bringing in Bill Shine, former Fox News executive into the White House as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Folks, examples of this obscene Trump-Fox News relationship are endless.

By the way Bill Shine’s wife Darla is known to post very racist things on Twitter. She has since deleted her Twitter account but Mediaite captured some of them. This blatant racism by Darla would be enough for any other U.S. administration to pull the plug on Shine’s appointment but not the Trump administration.

According to Stelter both Trump and Fox News benefit from this obscene relationship–Trump getting regular “soft” interviews which are essentially public relations campaigns and in turn he pitches the various Fox News shows, books etc to his massive twitter audience. It’s a great arrangement from a business standpoint, but goes against everything U.S. journalism has stood for–holding those in power accountable. Maria Bartiromo and her cohorts at Fox News appear to have twisted this age old journalism principle to “using those in power for ratings and profit.”

Yours Truly was on this Fox News beat way before it was vogue but admittedly, never thought it would ever get this bad.

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Trump, The Subject Of Mueller Probe Cannot Nominate A SCOTUS Justice. Can He?


Dem Senator Corey Booker is advancing a novel legal theory(#BookerTheory), a brilliant one as far as Yours Truly is concerned, arguing that because Trump is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation (TrumpRussia), his nomination of a Supreme Court Justice to replace retiring Justice Kennedy creates an unacceptable conflict of interest. Senator Booker made the argument when he appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.


According to Senator Booker, this is unacceptable because it boils down to Trump appointing a Supreme Court Justice for the specific purpose of helping him with the TrumpRussia investigation. There’s a very realistic chance that at some point, TeamTrump will challenge an aspect of Mueller probe in federal court, especially a subpoena for his testimony. Such a challenge would most likely end up in the Supreme Court to be adjudicated by Trump’s Supreme Court pick. Senator Booker’s argument is that this creates an unacceptable conflict of interest that may further tarnish the image of the Roberts Supreme Court.

It’s also worth pointing out that no previous U.S. President has nominated a Supreme Court justice while under criminal investigation. This is probably the strongest argument in the #BookerTheory because simply put, we’ve never been here before. The founding fathers never envisioned that someone engaged in or suspected of criminal conduct would ever rise to be President.

The fact that we are in unchartered waters means there is no Supreme Court precedent establishing Trump’s ability to nominate a Supreme Court justice under these circumstances but more importantly, creates a fertile ground for a legal challenge testing Senator Booker’s novel legal theory.

While Dems are engaged in an all out warfare with Republicans over whether Trump’s Supreme Court nominee should be seated before or after the midterms, maybe they should step aside and give serious consideration to the #BookerTheory–whether the ongoing Mueller probe precludes Trump from making the said Supreme Court nomination in the first place. Brace yourselves folks it’s Bush v Gore all over again.

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Dems Must Pursue No-Tax-Returns-No-Ballot Strategy Against Trump

The recent approval by Rhode Island’s Senate of a measure that would require presidential candidates to release 5 year tax returns in order to be placed on the state’s ballot has received tremendous praise by grassroots Dems, spurring Twitter hashtag #NoTaxReturnsNoBallot, among many others.


As expected, grassroots Dems are now wondering why other “blue states” are not following Rhode Island’s lead compelling Trump to release his tax returns nefore being placed on the ballot

Turns out according to Ballotpedia, that as of June 2018, there are 8  Democrat-controlled states, namely; Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware(see map below)

This means 7 other Dem states could easily follow Rhode Island’s lead and lock Trump out of their 2020 ballots, effectively killing his chances of securing the GOP nomination in 2020

Yours Truly will definitely reach out to the Dem Governors of the said states urging them to follow Rhode Island’s lead. For therecord this would by no means be a walk in the park if TeamTrump challenged it in court

However it presents a win-win situation for Dems because it would force Trump and his GOP to essentially defend lack of government transparency. It would also force Trump to finally take concerns about his emoluments clause violations seriously

Bottomline these 7 blue states should join Rhode Island’s #NoTaxReturnsNoBallot campaign

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Dems Must Weaponize #TrumpSwamp

One of the biggest promises then candidate Donald Trump made leading up to the 2016 elections was that because he was an outsider, he was the only one capable of taking corruption out of Washington–we all remember the constant “Drain the Swamp” chants at Trump rallies. The reality however has turned out to be the complete opposite. We are only in the second year of the Trump Admin yet Americans are already very alarmed at the shocking levels of government corruption reported in the media. Some are even wondering whether at this level of plunder and pillage, the country can survive 4 years of Trump. Corruption in the Trump Admin has become so prevalent, it has spawned the popular Twitter hashtag #TrumpSwamp.



Americans were initially concerned about Trump's conflicts of interest and violations of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause because of the fact that despite promising to do so during the campaign, Trump never fully divested from his vast global business empire upon assuming the presidency.

Concerns about the president's violations of the Emoluments Clause persist to this day and are the subject of several lawsuits. The problem however is that in addition to conflict of interest questions surrounding the president himself, it appears members of his administration are also caught up in all kinds of corrupt schemes. Some of the notable corruption scandals involve EPA Administrator Scott Pruit, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, just to mention but a few.

Message for DNC? Corruption in the Trump Admin has to be a central theme in campaign ads for the various Dems running for office this November. Dems must not only call out these egregious levels of corruption in the Trump Admin but also propose solutions to prevent them from happening again in the future. Even though it is well known that the GOP has its "mandatory voters" on the right and Dems have theirs on the left, there is a huge swath of independent voters who are longing to see these alarming levels of government corruption dealt with. Dems need to win these independent anti-corruption voters.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com