O'Rourke eyes stronger enforcement of Emoluments Clause, limits to pardons

O'Rourke eyes stronger enforcement of Emoluments Clause, limits to pardons
© Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeKrystal Ball: Voters are coming to their own judgements about who is electable Warren campaign to host series of events in Texas Democrat attacks Trump's rhetoric, policies in Spanish-language State of the Union response MORE is eyeing reforms to strengthen enforcement of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and prevent presidents from using pardons to protect themselves. 

The former Texas congressman's presidential campaign said in a statement on Tuesday that O'Rourke would make any presidential attempt "to secure or acceptance of assistance from a foreign power for personal profit or political gain a federal crime through both civil and criminal liability."  

His plan would also classify non-financial assistance from foreign countries in U.S. elections as an emolument.

ADVERTISEMENT

O'Rourke has also proposed a constitutional amendment banning presidents from using pardons on people linked to investigations in which the president or a family member of the president is a subject, witness or target. 

The statement from O'Rourke's campaign follows recent revelations that President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE asked Ukraine to look into Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE. In response, House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump. 

More recently, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request Scaramucci thanks John Kelly for speaking up against Trump Trump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' MORE said that the next Group of 7 (G-7) summit would be hosted at President Trump's Doral resort, but said the president would not profit from the move. The plan has since reportedly been scrapped and the U.S. is expected to host the meeting of foreign leaders at Camp David

The new statement from the O'Rourke campaign did not specifically address either Ukraine or the G-7 summit, but did refer to Trump's "illegal actions."

“Congress should act swiftly to impeach and to remove President Trump from office in light of his illegal actions," O'Rourke said in the statement. 

"But it is also time to pass additional reforms that heed Washington’s advice so that Trump—and every president who follows—will never be above the law, or able to welcome foreign interference in our democracy,” he added.

The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution states that people holding office should not "accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State" without congressional approval. 

O'Rourke is among more than a dozen candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.