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Dem lawmaker introduces bill to stop Trump from using the presidency to 'enrich himself and his family'

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellJuan Williams: Defeated Trump is in legal peril Taylor Swift allows song to be used in campaign ad Graham says SC people of color can go anywhere in the state but 'need to be conservative, not liberal' MORE (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would make it a criminal offense for President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE and his family to "enrich themselves by using his presidency."

The new bill, titled Prevent Corrupting Foreign Influence Act, would “significantly improve upon the existing ban on America’s highest elected officials receiving financial benefits from foreign powers,” according to a statement on Monday.

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“Unlike other Presidents, Donald Trump has failed to distance himself from his private business interests while serving our nation, and so he and his family are getting richer from Trump companies that receive money and benefits from foreign powers,” Swalwell said in the statement. “Americans deserve to know that their President is working for them and only them, not having his own wallet fattened by foreign interests.” 

The legislation would make it a criminal offense for Trump, Vice President Pence, their families or “companies in which they have at least half-ownership” to accept anything of value from a foreign power or from a company that is more than 50 percent controlled by a foreign power, according to the statement. 

If passed, the new bill would “improve upon current law" and expand upon the current legislation that already prohibits government employees from receiving “emoluments” or gifts from foreign states except as allowed by Congress. 

The legislation would further expand the prohibition’s scope to include “anything of value” and would expand the prohibition’s application for sources “to include companies controlled by foreign countries, and for recipients, to include the President’s and Vice President’s immediate family members and companies they control.”

The bill would also make violations subject to criminal penalties.

“It’s long past time that Congress takes a meaningful stand against any effort to buy and sell our White House,” Swalwell said in the press release. “America’s Presidents and Vice Presidents must not enrich themselves from foreign sources — they should hold themselves to a higher standard, and if they won’t, it’s our job to do it for them.”

According to the press statement, the California Democrat was "inspired" to introduce the legislation after a Chinese government–controlled company, the Metallurgical Corporation of China, “loaned $500 million to benefit a massive development project in Indonesia, called Lido City, in which the Trump organization is involved,” while also noting that Trump has also eased sanctions on Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE.

The Democratic lawmaker also pointed out the Trump family's companies’ history of Russian investments and banking connections, which he noted is “a cause for concern as the President charts an inexplicably close relationship with the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin despite that nation’s interference in America’s elections.”

The new legislation, however, would not criminalize past financial arrangements, according to the press statement, which added that it is meant to ensure no such relationships continue.