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March 17, 2017

Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Ethics in Government

Trump Tax Returns: Necessary, But Not Enough

Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow and David Cay Johnston revealed Donald Trump’s 2005 two-page Form 1040 on air. Before revealing the form, Maddow made an extended argument that Donald Trump must release his complete tax returns in order to disclose all potential conflicts of interest from his business empire, including potentially income from foreign governments.  We agree — but tax returns are merely a starting point for understanding Trump’s business partners. In one example, Maddow pointed to a sketchy real estate deal with a Russian oligarch. Donald Trump purchased a piece of property in Florida for $40 million in 2005. Just three years later, Trump sold the property for $100 million to a Russian oligarch (i.e., a rich Russian businessperson closely tied to Putin’s government) named Dmitry Rybolovlev. Trump’s 150% return on investment in just three years would be suspiciously large even if the real estate magnate had bought an undervalued property and improved it. However, Rybolovlev actually quickly tore down the 62,000 square foot mansion and sold it off in three pieces. How the value of the property appreciated so quickly is a mystery, especially as the Florida’s real estate market was collapsing.

December 06, 2016

Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Ethics in Government

Obama and Senate Can Act Against Trump's Conflicts of Interest

As I’ve noted previously, Donald Trump’s relationship with billionaire hedge funder John Paulson seems likely to be very, very good for Paulson.  

Paulson, who came to fame making $4  billion personally by betting against the housing bubble, also seems about to win big on having bet against pre-election favorite Hillary Clinton.

Interestingly, it now seems clear that the relationship between Paulson and Trump is mutually profitable.

November 23, 2016

Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Ethics in Government

Non-Familial Trump-Era Corruption?

There is belated but considerable press attention to Donald Trump’s nearly inextricable conflicts of interest. He and his family run a complex, far-flung, non-public company that largely relies on his name as a branding asset. Entities without America’s public interest in mind, be they foreign or domestic companies, are already beginning to cultivate the Trump family. Ivanka Trump, groomed to run the family business in something that will be a blind trust only in the most Orwellian sense imaginable, is being included in with international leaders potentially useful to “The Trump Organization.”

Presidential Power Map

The Presidential Powermap classifies bundlers and major donors by their professional and sectoral affiliations to offer the most possible clues about the composition of a presidential candidate’s hypothetical administration.

BigLaw Revolving Door Series

The Revolving Door Project and People’s Parity Project jointly publish the BigLaw Revolving Door report series. This series investigates the US’s largest law firms, those firms’ corporate clients, and how they seek to influence executive branch policies and actions and the larger field of regulatory law.