Senator Warren Leads Lawmakers in Reintroducing the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act
Washington, D.C. — United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with 22 of her Senate colleagues, reintroduced the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act, legislation that would require the President and Vice President to disclose and divest any potential financial conflicts of interest. The bill would also require presidential appointees to recuse themselves from any matters involving the president's financial conflicts of interest that come before their agencies. Senator Warren previously introduced this legislation in 115th and 116th Congresses. The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act also contains parts of Senator Ron Wyden’s Presidential Tax Transparency Act.
The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act would:
- Require the President, Vice President, their spouses, and minor or dependent children to divest all interests that create financial conflicts of interest by placing those assets in a true blind trust, which would be managed by an independent trustee who would oversee the sale of assets and place the proceeds in conflict-free holdings;
- Adopt a sense of the Congress that the President's violation of financial conflicts of interest laws or the ethics requirements that apply to executive branch employees constitute a high crime or misdemeanor under the impeachment clause of the U.S. Constitution; and
- Prohibit presidential appointees from participating in matters that directly involve the financial interests of the president.
The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act is part of Senator Warren's broader agenda to crack down on corruption in Washington. In August 2018, she introduced the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, to eliminate the influence of money in our federal government and ensure that it works for American families. The Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act includes a comprehensive set of policy solutions to fundamentally change the way Washington does business and restore the American public's faith in democracy.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).
The legislation is also endorsed by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
“The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act is an urgently needed reform,” said Walter Shaub, Senior Ethics Fellow, Project On Government Oversight. “Tone from the top is everything in government ethics, so a president’s failure to resolve their own conflicts of interest undermines government integrity across the executive branch. Sadly, experience has taught us that norms alone won’t prevent presidential conflicts of interest.”
“Our government is mired in a crisis of public confidence brought on, in part, by former President Donald Trump's unprecedented corruption,” said Noah Bookbinder, President of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act (PCIA) would rebuild public trust in our institutions and bring transparency to the scope of the President's and Vice President's assets. CREW strongly endorses the PCIA and calls on Congress to send it to President Biden's desk as expeditiously as possible.”
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