The Text & History of the Foreign Emoluments Clause

emolument: a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office

Ever wonder how some political figures get rich off their meager salaries? They don’t. They supplement them with help from corporations, foreign governments, etc. When a government official profits from his/her/its position, the income is called an emolument. This is why “pay-to-play” is such an important concept for us to understand. We’ll be hearing more about pay-to-play in the near future. How much is it worth to a foreign country to have a high-ranking U.S. official on their side? Emoluments are one way politicians and others in government positions, line their pockets. Emoluments can also be thought of as graft and corruption or bribes.

graft: practices, especially bribery, used to secure illicit gains in politics or business; corruption. Gains secured by corruption. To make money by shady or dishonest means.

With that in mind, now read this…

America’s Founders believed that corruption and foreign influence were among the gravest threats to our nation. As a result, they included in our Constitution the Foreign Emoluments Clause. Written in sweeping and unqualified language, the Clause was designed to prevent these two evils from affecting the federal government. This document explores the text and history of the Clause, providing statements from the Founders themselves and the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, which among other things provides “legal advice to the Executive Branch on all constitutional questions.”

Text of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 8:
“No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

Read the entire article explaining the importance of the Emoluments Clause at https://www.theusconstitution.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/The-Text-and-History-of-the-Foreign-Emoluments-Clause.pdf

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