A federal appeals court in New York has reinstated a lawsuit that claims Donald Trump has unconstitutionally profited from his businesses accepting payments from foreign and domestic governments while he serves as president, violating the foreign and domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The case was previously dismissed for lack of standing.
The complainants are Jill Phaneuf and Eric Goode, members of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, described as a “nonpartisan, member‐based organization of restaurants and restaurant workers,” in court documents, along with government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The suit claims Trump through his businesses is effectively the sole owner of restaurants, hotels, and event spaces, which are patronized by foreign and domestic government clientele” and it has given him a competitive advantage and also violated the Constitution. Since assuming office, Trump has turned over day-to-day management of his businesses to his children and established a trust to hold his business assets. However, he’s maintained sole ownership, receives business updates at least quarterly, and can get distributions from the trust at any time.