'There are 1,000 unanswered questions': Trump's conflict of interest problem hasn't gone away

Despite President Trump’s promises to resolve potential conflicts of interest surrounding his business empire before taking the Oval Office, it appears there has been no movement on that front, according to a report from ProPublica released Friday.

The nonpartisan organisation examined more than a dozen of Trump’s businesses registered in Florida, Delaware, and New York and found that no documents showing Trump relinquished control of his empire had been filed as of the time its story was published Friday afternoon.

Officials in New York and Delaware, according to ProPublica, said documents are logged in its system as soon as they are received. In Florida, documents are logged within “a day or two” of receipt.

They were asked by ProPublica whether they received paperwork from Trump’s representatives: “As of 3:15 p.m. [Friday], the officials said they have not,” ProPublica reported.

Trump’s business empire is massive, stretching across several countries. It is unclear when the transfer process was initiated. Business Insider’s request for comment from the PR agency representing the Trump transition team was not immediately returned.

In a press conference last week, then-president-elect Trump said he signed documents that initiated a “complete and total” transfer of his businesses to his two sons. Stacks of paper tucked into folders were displayed on a table at the press conference. Reporters were not allowed to look inside the folders.

Sherri Dillon, an attorney in charge of Trump’s plan to transfer control of his businesses, said the necessary arrangements would be made by January 20.

Here’s what ProPublica’s investigation found:

  • New York’s Department of State said business filings for the Trump Organisation show Trump is still listed as the sole representative of the organisation.
  • Ivanka Trump is still designated as the authorised officer for a property located at the Old Post Office in Washington D.C. that was purchased by the Trump family and was converted into a hotel.
  • No recent amendments have been filed in Delaware where most of Trump’s businesses are currently registered.
  • Filings for Trump’s businesses in Florida including the Mar-A-Lago Club, the Trump International Gold Club, and DJT Holdings remain unchanged.

Ethics experts have been critical of Trump’s proposals to disentangle himself from his business empire and urged him to do more. “What are the terms of the trust? Who is going to be the ethics monitor and what standards will he or she abide by?” said Norman Eisen, who served as the White House chief ethics lawyer under President Obama.

“There are 1,000 unanswered questions,” he said.

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