First a definition:
Emolument (n.) gain from employment or position; payment received for work; salary, wages, fees, etc Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition
The Constitution is vague about some things and very clear about others. One thing which is very clear is that no office holder under the United States of America may accept any pay, gift, or anything of value of any kind for anything whatsoever from any foreign government.
U.S. Constitution, Article I Section 9 Paragraph 8:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
And that the President, in particular, may not accept any pay, money, or gain of any sort from the United States Government or from any state, except for his salary as President.
Article II Section 1 Paragraph 7:
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Several Constitutional scholars have already raised the issue of whether an international business owner who is also President would be in violation of Article I Section 9 whenever a foreign state gave him license or permission to do business in their nation, which would obviously be a thing of value to him. It seems unlikely that the Constitution permits such transactions. Unfortunately this is the sort of “right on the edge” transaction for which Trump is known, transactions that are probably illegal but extremely slippery and hard to prove.
However, we see a far more blatant violation, of Article II Section 1, in the publicly announced plans for the Secret Service to rent space in Trump Tower in order to provide security for the President Elect’s family. The President is expressly forbidden from accepting any pay from the United States Government besides his Presidential salary. It is simply not permitted. No, he can’t rent space to his guard detail. He can’t charge them to fly on his airplane. He cannot make money off the government he is leading, no money in any way whatsoever. It is the clearest possible violation of the Constitution.
he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
I hope that someone, somewhere, will see to it that a President Trump, should he be seated in the office, does not openly defy the Constitution, Article II Section 1 Paragraph 7. Do the other branches of government still recognize any obligation at all to the whole text of the United States Constitution?