Sending Office: Honorable Eric Swalwell
Cosponsor H.R. 3486, the Prevent Corrupting Foreign Influence Act
July 15, 2019
I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 3486, the Prevent Corrupting Foreign Influence Act, and help take a step toward stopping President Trump from corruptly using his office to enrich himself and his family with money from foreign governments.
Unlike recent Presidents, President Trump has taken no meaningful steps to disentangle himself from his private business interests. He and his family thus continue to benefit from the myriad Trump companies, many of which receive money and benefits from
foreign countries. Among other examples, a
recent report found at least 22 governments have spent money at Trump Organization properties and the Metallurgical Corporation of China, a Chinese government company,
loaned $500 million for the benefit of a massive development project in Indonesia, called Lido City, in which the Trump Organization is involved.
Such concrete examples show how there is a clear danger that foreign states could use the web of connections between themselves, President Trump, his family members, and their family business to exert improper influence over official decisions. This is
why our framers put into the Constitution a ban on gifts from foreign states going to federal officials and employees without congressional authorization (i.e., Emoluments Clause). In fact, Alexander Hamilton raised the specific concern of foreign influence
on our leaders in Federalist Number 22, writing that “history furnishes us with so many mortifying examples of the prevalency of foreign corruption in republican governments.”
While the current implementing law limits and prescribes for the public reporting of gifts from foreign counties, it is narrow in application, scope, and effect. That is why we need to enact H.R. 3486. First, the bill would expand the scope of the prohibition
from merely gifts to include “anything of value” from the covered foreign interest. Second, it would expand the application of the prohibition as to sources to explicitly include companies controlled by foreign countries and as to recipients to include the
immediate family members of the President and Vice-President, as well as companies they control. Third, it would make violations subject to criminal penalties. There would be exceptions for investments in mutual funds, assets held in a blind trust, and transfers
of value which comply with preexisting law.
It is also worth noting the bill would expand current law on receiving gifts from foreign countries to cover the President’s and Vice-President’s immediate family members as well. This is needed to ensure everyone covered by the new bill has the same ability
to avoid criminal penalties by acting in accordance with said current law.
H.R. 3486 would allow us to take a meaningful stand against President Trump and his family making money from his office at the expense of the American people. If you would like to cosponsor or if you have any questions, please contact Andrew Ginsburg at
Member of Congress
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