Tags: Trump Administration | taxpayers | trump | personal | business

Taxpayers Foot Bill for Work on Lawsuits Related to Trump Private Business

Taxpayers Foot Bill for Work on Lawsuits Related to Trump Private Business
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 16 November 2017 08:36 AM

Taxpayers are paying the legal bills for at least 10 lawyers and paralegals in the Justice Department to work on lawsuits pertaining to President Donald Trump's private businesses, according to a Wednesday report in USA Today.

Federal payroll records show that the salaries of government lawyers that are assigned to the cases range from around $133,000 to $185,000, USA Today reported.

Ethics groups and businesses in competition with Trump say that the payments are a conflict of interest, the report said.

The legal team is defending the president in four lawsuits resulting from Trump not divesting from hundreds of companies that have customers that include foreign governments and officials, USA Today reported.

The Justice Department is not defending any policy decisions by Trump in his role as president, but is making the case that it is not unconstitutional for Trump's private businesses to earn money from foreign governments and officials while he is in office, according to the report.

Trump's private attorneys and the government lawyers are taking the same stance — that the ban on a president getting gifts from foreign entities in exchange for policy action does not apply to foreign governments buying from Trump businesses.

"We've never before had a president who was branded, and it's impossible to divorce from that brand," said Stuart Gerson, chief of the Justice Department's civil division during the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. "It's blurring the lines because it's so unusual. I can't think of a precedent where another civil division lawyer has been called on to defend the president under these circumstances," Gerson said in USA Today.

The government attorneys are a money-saver for Trump, USA Today said, noting that private attorneys in Washington and New York could cost Trump at least $500 to $1,000 an hour.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in October questioned government lawyers over wanting him to throw out a suit that accuses Trump of violating the Constitution's emoluments clause, according to Reuters. That clause prevents U.S. officials from accepting gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval.

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Taxpayers are paying the legal bills for at least 10 lawyers and paralegals in the Justice Department to work on lawsuits pertaining to President Donald Trump's private businesses, according to a Wednesday report in USA Today.
taxpayers, trump, personal, business
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2017-36-16
Thursday, 16 November 2017 08:36 AM
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