July 10 (UPI) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland accusing President Donald Trump of violating emoluments clauses.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the two attorneys general didn’t prove their case, which argued that Trump violated the Constitution by accepting money from domestic and foreign governments through his hotels and other businesses.
The panel also said the attorneys general couldn’t show that Trump’s ownership of the hotels created competition with other similar businesses like convention centers.
“The District and Maryland’s interest in enforcing the Emoluments Clauses is so attenuated and abstract that their prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the president is an appropriate use of the courts, which were created to resolve real cases and controversies between the parties,” Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote in the opinion.
The three-judge panel ordered the lower court to dismiss the lawsuit.
The suit said the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., diverts customers away from businesses the District of Columbia and Maryland own, license or tax, causing those governments direct financial harm. The Trump International Hotel competes with convention facilities owned by the city’s government, as well as with a resort in Prince George’s County that generates tax revenue for Maryland.
The suit contended it wasn’t clear whether Trump is making decisions in the country’s best interest or out of “self-interested motivations grounded in the international and domestic business dealings in which President Trump’s personal fortune is at stake.”
Trump increases business from foreign diplomats and others doing business at his family’s hotels and the restaurants, the suit alleged.
The plaintiffs sought Trump’s personal tax returns.
This wasn’t the only lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause. A group of some 200 Democrats sued him on similar grounds. On Tuesday, they issued dozens of subpoenas seeking documents from Trump’s private businesses.