The Trump Team's Conflicts And Scandals, All In One Place
Bloomberg Businessweek|September 17, 2018

The Trump team’s conflicts and scandals, all in one place

Mathew Philips

Donald Trump promised to drain the Washington swamp. Instead, he’s surrounded himself with family members, appointees, and advisers who’ve been accused of conflicts of interest, misuse of public funds, influence peddling, self-enrichment, working for foreign governments, failure to disclose information, and violating ethics rules. Some are under investigation or facing lawsuits, others have resigned, and five have either been convicted or pleaded guilty, including three for lying to government officials. Scandals plague all administrations, but Trump’s isn’t even two years old and the allegations keep on coming.

Trump Organization

Trump transferred ownership to a trust run by his sons and longtime executive Allen Weisselberg. That he can revoke the trust and withdraw money at any time has helped prompt lawsuits alleging he’s violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

Trump Foundation

According to a lawsuit filed in June by New York’s attorney general, the foundation was used to settle Trump’s personal debts, benefit his business, and boost his presidential campaign in violation of the state tax code.

Donald Trump Jr.

His role as a GOP fundraiser, plus his position in the Trump Organization, where he actively seeks out new business, raises concerns that he’s susceptible to special interests seeking favors from the Trump administration.

Eric Trump

A charity once run by Eric is under investigation by New York’s attorney general for making payments to Trump-owned businesses. A spokeswoman for Eric says he’s no longer associated with the charity.

Ivanka Trump

Her fashion brand received approval for at least a dozen trademarks in China since the beginning of May, after her father intervened to help Chinese telecom company ZTE Corp. In July she announced she was closing the business. Abigail Klem, president of Ivanka’s company, said it files trademarks to prevent unrelated parties from capitalizing on Ivanka’s name.

Jared Kushner

Trump’s son-in-law divested his real estate assets to family members, some of whom do business with institutions seeking favors from the White House. His spokesmen say he’s avoided any conflicts by recusing himself from the operations and investment decisions of his companies.

Scott Pruitt

When he resigned on July 5, the former EPA chief faced ethics investigations into his taxpayer-funded travel, questionable spending decisions, and use of aides to conduct personal errands. He’s denied wrongdoing and didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Carter Page

His trip to Moscow in July 2016 while serving as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign drew the attention of the FBI. Page hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing and says he’s never been an agent of a foreign government.

George Papadopoulos

A former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, he pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to FBI agents about contacts he had with Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Paul Manafort

On Aug. 21 the former Trump campaign manager was found guilty of eight counts including filing false tax returns, bank fraud, and failing to report foreign bank accounts. He faces a second trial this month on charges including obstruction of justice.

Carl Icahn

While serving as a special adviser on regulatory reform, Icahn tried to get Trump to change an Environmental Protection Agency rule on ethanol credits that he said was costing refineries he owns hundreds of millions of dollars. He gave up the advisory role, but Reuters has reported that one of his refineries won a special waiver from the rule. Democrats have called for an investigation into Icahn’s trading in ethanol credits. Icahn says he did nothing wrong.

Elliott Broidy

Broidy raised millions of dollars for Trump’s campaign. According to documents stolen from his computer and leaked to the media, he explored lucrative consulting deals with a sanctioned Russian company and a Malaysian financier under criminal investigation, neither of which panned out. He hasn’t been charged with any crimes and says he didn’t do anything wrong.

Michael Cohen

The former lawyer and fixer for Trump pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to eight felony charges. He said he sought to boost his boss’s White House bid with hush money payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump.

Rick Gates

A business partner of Manafort’s who became deputy chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign, Gates pleaded guilty in February 2018 to lying to FBI agents and conspiracy against the U.S. in connection with his work as an unregistered lobbyist on behalf of a former Ukrainian president.

Steven Mnuchin

The Treasury secretary’s use of military aircraft for eight trips that cost taxpayers almost $1 million didn’t violate any laws, according to the department’s inspector general, who faulted Mnuchin’s justification for the expenses.

Betsy DeVos

Before becoming Education secretary, DeVos agreed to divest her holdings in a debt collection agency and 100 other companies. The department later awarded a contract to the collection company, a decision she said she had nothing to do with.

Ben Carson

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