Almost 200 Democratic members of Congress plan to sue President Trump on Wednesday, alleging that he is violating the Constitution by accepting foreign money through his business empire.
The lawsuit will say that Trump is in breach of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, which says that the president may not accept payments from foreign governments without the consent of Congress.
By late Tuesday night, at least 184 members of Congress — 26 from the Senate and 158 from the House — had signed on to the draft complaint, which was obtained by CNNMoney and confirmed by a congressional staff member.
Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, said it was the largest number of plaintiffs in any congressional lawsuit against the president in the nation’s history.
The draft complaint says that the Emoluments Clause was meant to ensure “that our nation’s leaders would not be corrupted by foreign influence or put their own financial interests over the national interest.”
As examples of foreign money, the complaint cites press reports about a Saudi government-backed lobbying firm that paid for a room at Trump’s luxury hotel in Washington in January, and a celebration held there in February by the Embassy of Kuwait.
It also cites preliminary approval granted by the Chinese government since January for trademark protection for Trump-branded construction services, golf clubs, hotels and other ventures.
The complaint mentions at least two tenants at Trump Tower in New York that are backed by foreign governments, from China and the United Arab Emirates.
It also says Trump is entitled to licensing fees from Britain, Bulgaria, Indonesia and Vietnam for iterations of “The Apprentice” in those countries.
“These payments are in violation of the Constitution absent a vote of Congress,” Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, told CNN. “It hurts the average American because decisions can be made that are not in the best interest of our country.”