Over the summer, Ivanka Trump announced that she was shutting down her brand in order to avoid any conflict with her position as a senior advisor to her father Donald Trump. But CREW, a D.C. watchdog group, says that the first daughter has continued doing business, and this time with a foreign government.
Bustle says that CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) sounded the alarm when Ivanka Trump was awarded 16 new trademarks from the Chinese government in the month of October alone, and they deviated from the normal fashion, shoes, and cosmetics. Among the 16 trademarks were licenses for sausage casings, nursing homes, and the one that was most alarming to CREW, voting machines.
The organization says that Ivanka Trump applied for all of these trademarks in March of 2016 when her father was already in the thick of his campaign, raising eyebrows. They also claim that Ivanka Trump’s brand is hardly dormant and continues to apply for even more trademarks overseas. At this time, Ivanka has seven more trademarks still pending.
Sources say that Trump is keeping her options open in case she leaves her prominent position in the family White House.
The Huffington Post says that Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, explained that Trump is craftily gathering trademarks around the world when the mood would be favorable to someone with her last name.
“She’s dissolving the company now but is continuing to get trademarks so she can sell her stuff all over the world later. What better time to get those trademarks than now, when every government around the world wants to play nice with her father?”
But CREW says not so fast and is once again raising questions about the Trump family’s business interests with foreign governments when they should be representing the American people.
“[Ivanka Trump] retained her foreign trademarks, the public will continue to have to ask whether President Trump has made foreign policy decisions in the interest of his and his family’s businesses.”
CREW points out that three of the trademarks recently awarded to Ivanka Trump’s brand were transferred to her on the same day she had dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The concern is that these new trademarks in China violate the emoluments clause, particularly because most of Ivanka’s new trademarks are good through 2028, at least giving the impression that Trump is benefitting personally from connections she is making in the White House.