Groups warn Trump about conflict of interest with businesses

Groups warn Trump about conflict of interest with businesses
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A coalition of government watchdogs, progressive advocates and pro-regulatory groups is calling on President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE to find someone outside of his family to run his businesses while he’s serving as commander in chief.

In a letter to Trump on Friday, 29 groups warned of the “conflict of interest and credibility problems” his presidency faces if he allows his children to run his businesses.

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“Questions will regularly arise as to whether your domestic and foreign policy positions are being taken on behalf of the interests of the American people or the financial interests of the Trump family, which will necessarily diverge on numerous occasions from those of the nation as a whole,” said the letter signed by Public Citizen, Democracy 21 and the Sunlight Foundation.

“Since your business is a private one and not a public company, furthermore, the American people will have no way of knowing all of the financial benefits that may come to your business enterprises from domestic and foreign interests who benefit from your decisions.”

Instead, the groups urged Trump to divest his businesses into true blind trusts managed by an independent trustee who would have no ties to him or his family.

“The trustee would then dispose of any business enterprises divested to the trust behind the blind trust wall and would invest the new assets without any information going to you as to the new holdings,” the groups said. “We also urge you to divest any other investments you may hold into the blind trust or the equivalent.”

The groups told Trump to act now to avoid any conflicts of interest and to take the necessary steps to ensure his cabinet appointments also eliminate any conflicts of interest they may have.

“Republicans and Democrats called for similar strong measures regarding the Clinton Foundation if Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll: Majority of Democratic voters happy with their choices among 2020 contenders No presidential candidate can unite the country GOP lawmakers speak out against 'send her back' chants MORE were elected president. It is no less important for you to take the steps set forth in this letter with The Trump Organization now that you will be entering the Oval Office,” they wrote.