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Who knew a dry subject like “Emoluments” (according to Webster: the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites) could be interesting? The history involves live lions, a gold box with 408 diamonds, elephant tusks, a Persian rug, and more.

Background: trump has refused from the beginning to release his tax returns and refused to relinquish his business interests. Despite blinding their operation during his term and putting his sons in charge (is that a double negative?), he’ll still reap the benefits after removal from office. The governments of Maryland and the District of Columbia sued the president for violating the Constitution’s Article 1, Section 9, prohibiting the receipt of gifts and business revenue from “any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

They claim his eponymous hotel near the White House is preferred by visiting officials who believe their room expenses will serve well in trump’s mind for them. This takes potential revenue from other hotels in D.C. and Maryland (damage: an important point to establish legal standing). The latest development is a US District Court judge in Greenbelt, MD, agreed. The suit moves forward over the objection of trump lawyers and the Department of Justice (our tax dollars at work).

There is more color to the history and foundation of the emoluments clause that one might expect.

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