Author Archives: Andy Grewal

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If Trump Jr. Didn’t Know Campaign Finance Law, He Won’t Be Prosecuted

by Andy Grewal — Sunday, July 16, 2017

A controversy has recently erupted over a June 2016 meeting between some members of the Trump campaign team, including the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and at least one Russian citizen. The Trump campaign’s version of events has shifted several times, and new details continue to emerge. However, it appears that Trump Jr.’s desire to […]

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Exploitation of Public Office and the Foreign Emoluments Clause

by Andy Grewal — Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Under the Foreign Emoluments Clause, a person holding an office of profit or trust under the United States (a U.S. Officer) cannot, without Congressional consent, accept an “emolument . . . of any kind whatever” from a foreign government. The clause has received many legislative and executive interpretations over the years, but it has only […]

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Three Reactions to the DOJ’s Brief in CREW v. Trump

by Andy Grewal — Saturday, June 10, 2017

On Friday, 6/9/17, the U.S. Department of Justice filed its brief in CREW v. Trump, in which the plaintiffs allege that the President has violated Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses through his continued ownership in Trump Organization entities. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on the case as it progresses, but here are […]

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The IRS Gets Handcuffed by the Congress

by Andy Grewal — Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The House and Senate recently reached agreement on a comprehensive spending bill and expect to pass it soon. Regarding the IRS, the bill freezes the agency’s budget at $11.2 billion and thus does not, as some feared, make substantial cuts to its funding. Nonetheless, the IRS may face hardships, because its funding remains significantly below […]

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Emoluments Clause: Ivanka Edition

by Andy Grewal — Monday, Apr. 24, 2017

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Trump, recently changed her position in the White House from informal advisor to unpaid government employee. See CNN (Mar. 29, 2017). Through this change, Ivanka, referred to here by her first name to avoid confusion with her father, became officially subject to various statutory ethics rules. Though the relevant […]

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Did the GSA Properly Find Trump’s “Full Compliance” With the D.C. Hotel Lease?

by Andy Grewal — Friday, Mar. 24, 2017

Commentators have argued that the Trump Old Post Office LLC (Trump Hotel LLC) has violated its lease agreement with the General Services Administration (GSA) from the moment that Donald Trump took the Presidential oath. The lease agreement, which relates to the federally owned property through which the D.C. Trump Hotel operates its hospitality business, states […]

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Flynn’s Foreign Emoluments Clause Problem and the Potentially Explosive Solution

by Andy Grewal — Friday, Mar. 17, 2017

As widely reported by numerous outlets, Rep. Cummings recently sent a letter to President Trump alleging, among other things, that retired Lt. General Michael Flynn violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from Russian sources. The letter argues that Flynn now owes a debt to the United States on account of […]

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Economic Substance De-Codification and the Supreme Court

by Andy Grewal — Monday, Mar. 6, 2017

As one of the revenue raisers to offset the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, Congress added Section 7701(o) to the tax code. That provision, which has nothing to do with health care, codifies the “economic substance doctrine” created by the federal district courts and appellate courts. Generally speaking, under the doctrine, the lower […]

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The Constitutionality of the Trump Organization’s Illegal (?) Chinese Trademark

by Andy Grewal — Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

Over the past week, several sources reported that the Trump Organization finally won its long-running battle to obtain a Chinese trademark. See, e.g., CNN (Feb. 17, 2017). A “squatter” had previously registered the trademark, which related to the use of the Trump name in construction-related businesses. But after years of litigation and administrative petitions, the […]

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Can Congress Get President Trump’s Tax Returns?

by Andy Grewal — Monday, Feb. 13, 2017

During the 2016 election, Donald Trump became the first major Presidential candidate in recent history to refuse to disclose his tax returns, citing ongoing IRS audits. Since taking office, President Trump has indicated that he will continue to keep his tax returns secret, arguing that only the media, and not the voters, care about them. […]

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