Presidential conflict of interest: be happy, don’t worry

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Trump refused to publicly release his tax returns because he was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service – but who confirmed with some pride during the campaign that he had paid no personal income tax for almost two decades, because of dubious losses worth almost $US1 billion.

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As President, Trump gets to pick and appoint his own tax auditor, because IRS commissioner John Koskinen’s term expires in November 2017 – or sooner if congressional Republicans succeed in a bid to drive him out earlier.

And naturally he will choose someone who will continue to audit his business affairs.

That one is pretty straightforward.

But the relationship between Trump and overseas governments, particularly when national banks, are in trouble is far more complicated. It

Trump’s newly appointed Attorney-General could be taking over a Justice Department still locked in negotiation with the German Deutsche Bank, with which Trump businesses reportedly hold loans currently worth as much as $US360 million.

US federal regulators reportedly have levied a $US14 billion fine on the bank as punishment for its trading in toxic mortgages during the housing crisis that pushed the US to the brink of financial collapse in 2007.

If, as is mooted, the German government takes over Deutsche Bank there is possibility that this will give them than average over the US government to say nothing of the President.

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) gibt am Montag (21.02.2011) im Konrad-Adenauer-Haus in Berlin eine Pressekonferenz zur Hamburg-Wahl. Die CDU kam in Hamburg mit 21,9 Prozent auf das schwächste Wahlergebnis seit Kriegsende. Foto: Rainer Jensen dpa

Sorry, Donald, Deutsche Bank is in a bit of trouble so we have to call on your $360 million loan

Even if the President-elect puts all his assets in a blind trust, it will be very difficult for potential and existing business partners overseas not to know when they are dealing with President and act accordingly.

And what foreign government wouldn’t be keen to curry favour by giving the presidential businesses a special deal.  Already Trump Hotels are being booked out by foreign delegation keen to curry favour with the President.

This problem will not go away for a number of reasons

The first reason is that this is what is known as a “wicked problem” a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for anyone of myriad reasons.

The second reason is that the President-elect doesn’t regard it as a problem.

The third reason is that his family will be protected by presidential power will be free to operate in an ethnically free and economically advantageous business environment.

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 Will this family have financial and political power to rival the Medicis?

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The rise of the Medici family started with Cosimo the Elder in the first half of the XVth century, when Florence was a powerful republic.

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