Top US Ethics Watchdog Investigates Trump’s Meal With Oil Executives

A strong organisation that has been leading the way in holding Donald Trump responsible for breaking the constitution is looking into whether his meeting with oil company executives at Mar-a-Lago last month should result in legal consequences.

The Guardian has reported that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is currently investigating a dinner that took place at Trump’s club. The dinner was attended by over 20 executives from oil and gas companies. According to the Washington Post, Trump requested a $1 billion donation for his presidential campaign. He also promised to reverse Joe Biden’s limitations on natural gas export permits, oil drilling, and car pollution.

Virginia Canter, who is the chief ethics counsel for Crew, stated that the group’s lawyers are currently investigating a matter that she considers to be of significant concern. “We are carefully considering whether Trump’s request for $1 billion from oil executives in his fundraising campaign warrants additional action,” she said.

Canter said that the details of the conversation between the previous president and the oil companies were concerning. “This was a small group that was focused on a specific industry. They discussed a deal worth $1 billion, which raises questions about the purpose of the meeting.”

House Democrats have started their own investigation into the Mar-a-Lago dinner, while news of Crew’s investigation was also announced. The House oversight committee sent letters on Monday to nine oil executives, asking them to provide details about their companies’ involvement.

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Sheldon Whitehouse, the senator from Rhode Island, is the chair of the Senate budget committee. This committee has the power to issue subpoenas. Senator Whitehouse is also thinking about conducting an investigation. He told the Guardian that Trump’s reported promise to remove restrictions on fossil fuels on the first day of a second Trump administration, along with the request for campaign funds, was a clear offer of a trade-off.

The White House stated that it was essentially encouraging people to inquire about the political corruption and manipulation of big oil. He said that his budget committee was examining ways to prevent the industry from influencing politicians to make taxpayers pay for their expenses.

Crew has a long history of taking Trump and his close associates to court and ethics bodies. The group recently tried to remove Trump from the presidential ballot in Colorado. They claimed that he violated the 14th amendment sanctions against those who engage in insurrection. However, the US Supreme Court blocked this attempt.

On Trump’s first day in the White House in 2017, Crew filed a lawsuit against him. The lawsuit claimed that Trump violated the emoluments clauses of the US constitution. These clauses prohibit federal officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign states. The case was still ongoing when Trump’s presidency ended. It started because Trump had refused to divest his business interests.

Several officials in the Trump administration received reprimands due to crew ethics complaints.

According to the bribery statute, 18 USC 201(b), public officials are not allowed to ask for or accept anything valuable in exchange for doing an official task. Presidential candidates can ask for donations as long as they follow the rules of campaign finance laws. They can also share their policy goals with companies that could benefit from them.

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