Two new plaintiffs — an association of restaurants and restaurant workers, and a woman who books banquet halls for two D.C. hotels — plan to join a lawsuit alleging that President Trump has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause because his hotels and restaurants do business with foreign governments.
The new plaintiffs will be added to the case on Tuesday morning, according to a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a D.C.-based watchdog group.
CREW had originally filed suit against Trump in federal court in January, alleging that — by continuing to own his business, which rents out hotel rooms and meeting spaces to other governments — Trump had violated the constitutional provision that bans “emoluments” from foreign powers.
Legal experts had said that the case faced a serious hurdle: It wasn’t clear that the watchdog group actually had standing to sue in the first place. What harm had it suffered, specifically, because of Trump’s actions?
The new plaintiffs are intended to offer an alternative answer to that question. Both say that, as direct competitors of Trump’s restaurants and hotels, they may lose foreign clients, who may book with Trump properties to curry favor with the president.