Washington: A group of US Congressmen has introduced the Restoring the Public Trust Act, that among other things seeks to make federal nepotism laws applicable to the Presidential office, and slammed President Donald Trump for “normalising unethical behaviour” during his term in office.
“Trump and his administration have made a mockery of government ethics, demonstrating the weak spots in our current laws. He has normalized unethical behaviour in a way that was once unthinkable, proving that we need stronger ethics laws,” US Representative Ted Lieu stated on Tuesday (local time).
Along with Lieu, the other Representatives who have endorsed the bill are Congressman David Cicilline, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congressman Ruben Gallego.
The bill ensures that “gaping holes” in anti-corruption and ethics laws in the US are addressed, according to an official statement released by Lieu’s office.
“The Restoring the Public Trust Act helps us do the critical work of rebuilding the public’s faith in government,” he further outlined.
The bill seeks to curtail the President’s power in appointing close family members to the Executive Office of the President, by making the federal nepotism laws applicable to his office.
“A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official,” the US’ nepotism law states.
Currently, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump as well as her husband, Jared Kushner serve as Advisors to the President of the United States.
Furthermore, the introduced bill also target’s Trump’s vacations to Mar-a-Lago through the ‘Swamp Act’.
“The President must reimburse the Treasury Department for taxpayer dollars spent at properties in which he has a financial stake, like Mar-a-Lago,” the statement mentions.
Another act in the introduced bill creates a federal criminal penalty for the use of public office for private gain, “endorsement of products, or aiding family and friends for corrupt purposes.”
The bill also “prohibits any business interest owned in whole or in part by the President or Vice President, his/her spouse, or immediate family member from doing business with the federal government.”
Before making an entry into politics, Trump was a businessman and television personality. Amongst other things, he owns the Mar-a-Lago, where government engagements, including hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017, have taken place.
Amongst a plethora of other things, the bill introduces the ‘Presidential Tax Transparency Act’, which requires all candidates for President to release their tax returns for the past three years.
For a bill to become a law in the United States, it needs to be passed by both the chambers of the US Congress – the US Senate and the House of Representatives. Following this, the President’s signatures are required to turn the bill into law.