Legal and ethical experts say Donald Trumps vow to step aside from businesses does little to prevent interests from interfering with his presidential duties [img]'http://businessqia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2747.jpg' Donald Trump will continue to face serious and unprecedented conflicts of interest as US president if he merely steps aside from running his businesses, legal and ethical experts said on Wednesday. Former White House ethics counsels and anti-corruption activists said Trumps claim that he would soon take himself completely out of business operations would do little on its own to prevent his financial interests interfering with his duties to the public as president. It is not enough unless he is going to sell the businesses, said Richard Painter, a chief ethics counsel to President George W Bush. Painter said Trump risked violating the US constitution if he retained ownership of his vast network of companies. Concerns persist that Trumps adult children, who are advisers to their father and executives in his corporation, will continue blurring lines of interest between the White House and Trump Tower. Norman Eisen, a former ethics counsel to Barack Obama, said the family could only avoid scandal by establishing an ethics firewall separating the two. All 16 Democratic members of the House of Representatives judiciary committee wrote on Wednesday to congressman Bob Goodlatte, the Republican committee chairman, to request hearings on the rules on ethics and conflicts of interest that may apply to the president of the United States. Trump said in a series of tweets early on Wednesday that he was scheduling a press conference for 15 December to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my great business in total. He said it was visually important that he avoid conflicts of interest. While he gave no further details of how the arrangement would work, Trumps reference to recusing himself from operations was in line with a previous statement that he planned to transfer the day-to-day running of the Trump companies to his adult children. But Eisen said Trump would continue to hold financial interests that will sometimes conflict with the public interest unless he sold his corporate holdings and gave up control of his wealth. In order to avoid conflicts, he must also exit the ownership of his businesses through a blind trust or equivalent, Eisen said in a statement. Simply knowing that he owned multimillion-dollar assets such as hotels or golf courses in foreign countries would keep alive the appearance of a conflict of interest when Trump came to dealing with these nations as president, according to several experts. The federal agency responsible for preventing conflicts of interest among US officials joined those urging Trump to sell his business interests. As we discussed with your counsel, divestiture is the way to resolve these conflicts, a spokesperson for the office of government ethics said in a tweet to Trump. As president-elect, Trump has quickly raised concerns by mixing business with his public position. He complained to Nigel Farage, a member of the European parliament and the leader of the UK Independence party until this week, about wind farms spoiling views in Scotland, where Trump owns a golf course. Trump also met Indian business partners at Trump Tower between interviews with candidates for his cabinet. Dozens of foreign diplomats attended a corporate sales pitch at Trumps new hotel in Washington DC. Experts said the second problem posed by Trumps apparent plan was that his children Ivanka, Donald Jr and Eric serve as close political advisers to their father as well as executives at the Trump Organization. A continuation of this arrangement would result in at least the appearance of blurred interests between the White House and Trumps companies. In the past few weeks, Trump has allowed Ivanka, his executive vice-president of development and acquisitions, to join his meeting with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister. Donald Jr, who holds the same corporate title as his sister, held private discussions on the conflict in Syria with diplomats in Paris. He should start by having the children step away from the transition, not to mention from participating in his own meetings with foreign leaders, said Eisen. Without an ethics firewall that is set up at once and continues into the administration, scandal is sure to follow. Ethics campaigners agreed. As long as the Trump children run the family business and/or maintain a significant ownership stake, while also remaining enmeshed in White House business as they plainly will be, the conflicts will continue, said Robert Weissman, the president of the Public Citizen advocacy group. Another former ethics counsel to a Republican president, who did not wish to be named in order to avoid angering the president-elect, said Trump had a moral obligation to rid himself of conflicts of interest and must go out of his way to show he was doing so. In order for the public to be satisfied that hes acting in their interests and not his own, we need to establish some kind of ongoing watch, said the former counsel, who suggested a special commission or new disclosure regime. Trump has noted publicly that there are no laws forbidding a president from having conflicts of interest. But attention has fallen on the emoluments clause of the constitution, which bars public office holders from receiving payments from foreign government officials. Painter, the former ethics counsel to Bush, said Trump risked violating the clause on several fronts if he retained his corporate holdings. Foreign diplomats staying in hotels, parties thrown by foreign governments in hotels, loans from the Bank of China, rent paid by foreign governments and companies controlled by foreign governments in office buildings, etc, Painter said in an email. Jack Marshall, an attorney and the founder of ProEthics, an ethics consultancy, said there was no satisfactory end in sight because there was no practical or realistic way for Trump to truly separate himself from his business interests. Its impossible, said Marshall. There is no solution and we are going to have to live with these conflicts of interest. Theres nothing he can do at this point to really make them go away. When you elect Trump, you get conflicts of interest. Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/donald-trump-conflicts-of-interest-business-ethics-president The post Trump will still face conflicts of interest after leaving his business, experts say appeared first on Business Questions Information Answers.