President-elect Donald Trump has financial stakes in hundreds of companies. But one line of business is particularly important to him: golf courses. He owns more than a dozen courses, which provide the Trump Organization with major streams of revenue and bolster his "luxury" brand image. But they also created conflicts of interest. As president, he will be able to steer environmental and labor policies that could boost the income from his golf courses.
"By definition, it's a conflict of interest," says Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and current president of the Campaign Legal Center, a government ethics watchdog group. Mr. Potter also leads the Political Law Group at Caplin & Drysdale.
He says that unless Trump sells his golf courses and hotels and sets up a blind trust, those conflicts will remain. "The point that the Trump people have been making is, 'We're allowed to have a conflict of interest because we're the president and the conflict of interest statute doesn't apply to us,' " Potter says. "That doesn't mean there's not a conflict. There is."
Short of selling his holdings and creating a blind trust, Potter says Trump might turn over his businesses to an independent party not related to him — setting up a sort of "firewall" between Trump golf courses and the White House.
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Excerpt taken from the article “Trump's Doral Golf Course Highlights His Conflicts Of Interest” by Greg Allen for NPR.