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Tracking Trump's Web of Conflicts

Tracking Trump's Web of Conflicts

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Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Donald Trump’s sprawling business ties raise questions about how his personal interests could influence the policies he pursues as president. His financial interests at home and abroad, family businesses, outstanding debts and ongoing government action against him and his companies complicated the transition and could be a recurring problem for his presidency. Trump has stepped down from his positions at the Trump Organization, but he hasn’t divested his ownership and can draw funds from a trust established to hold the companies whenever he likes. The organization, now managed by his sons Eric and Don Jr. and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, terminated pending deals and said it won't seek new international business. Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics, disagrees with the Trump team’s lawyers that these measures solve the problems his businesses present, calling them “meaningless.” The Trump Organization declined to comment about its investments or potential conflicts. Here’s what we know about Trump’s interests around the world.

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Trump has earned millions of dollars plastering his name on hotels and condominium towers built or owned by international partners, some in countries that are political flashpoints. Domestic operations and those overseas, which often have ties to foreign governments, could run afoul of the Constitution's emoluments clause, which bans gifts to U.S. officials from governments. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a public watchdog group, two state attorneys general and more than 200 Democratic lawmakers have sued the president in separate cases for violating the emoluments clause over payments by diplomats and foreign government officials to Trump’s hotels and golf courses. New plaintiffs from the restaurant and hotels industry were added to CREW's lawsuit in April, alleging that Trump is unfairly depriving them of business from foreign governments trying to curry favor with the president. Meanwhile, Trump Hotels plans to triple its number of U.S. hotels, which could cause more businesses to feel the pinch of competing with the White House.

Melania Trump owns an accessories business and a skincare line with combined royalties of no more than $50,000, Trump said in his May FEC disclosure. Ivanka Trump announced in January that she’d discontinue actively managing her own businesses, but hasn’t divested from them. Scion Hotels, owned by the Trump Organization, is among businesses now managed by Trump sons Eric and Don Jr.

Trump’s businesses held at least $550 million of debt as of June , owed to international lenders such as Deutsche Bank and UBS. Vornado Realty Trust, the majority owner of two towers in which Trump also has a stake, owes money to Goldman Sachs and Bank of China. Trump has refused to disclose his tax returns, so it’s impossible to know if he has additional debts not tied to his businesses.

Before he was elected, Trump, his businesses and his financial partners were involved with several federal agencies. With billions of dollars, and possible criminal charges, at stake, he'll now oversee and appoint people to lead these same agencies.

Trump faced criticism over how his personal investments could influence his policies as president. He held millions of dollars in banking and energy holdings and stood to benefit from policies that would weaken financial regulations or increase oil and gas development. On Dec. 6, Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, said the president-elect had sold all his stock in June. Miller did not provide documentation that verified the sale, and none of Trump’s stakes was large enough to require disclosure. As of June 16, Trump's 2017 financial disclosure form indicated he had divested his personal investments. Some of his stock holdings seem related to actions he’s taken as president-elect. His FEC disclosure listed a small stake in United Technologies, with which Trump recently brokered a $7 million deal in state tax breaks and other incentives to keep about 800 jobs in the U.S. These are the industries Trump was most heavily invested in according to his May FEC filing.

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