President Trump has not yet formally resigned from his business empire, despite taking office on Friday, Pro Publica reports.
As of 3:15 p.m. on Friday, officials in New York, Delaware and Florida, where Trump’s companies are registered or incorporated, said they had not yet received the paperwork necessary for Trump to officially transfer control of his businesses to his two eldest sons and a longtime associate, according to the report.
The Pro Publica report examined more than a dozen of Trump’s largest companies and found that the newly inaugurated president hasn’t yet taken the proper steps to remove himself from their business operations.
The report raises further questions about potential conflicts of interest the real estate mogul could face in the Oval Office.
Trump has also said he would shut down the controversial Donald J. Trump Foundation, but the report found that documents pertaining to the charitable organization haven’t been updated.
The finding contradicts Trump’s claim last week that he has completely removed himself from his companies.
A lawyer for Trump, Sheri Dillon, said at the same news conference that the president’s business interests would be placed in a family trust by Inauguration Day.
Despite those announcements, ethics experts and lawyers have argued that doing so would not truly resolve Trump’s potential conflicts of interest, saying that the only way for him to avoid such issues would be to fully divest from his businesses.
Trump and his associates “are not doing what they said they would do,” Richard Painter, President George W. Bush’s chief ethics attorney, told Pro Publica. “And even that was completely inadequate.”
But Trump has held that he will not do so, and Dillon said last week that total divestiture could take a financial toll on Trump. What’s more, Trump’s massive real estate holdings, like golf courses and hotels, would prove difficult to sell off.
“President-elect Trump cannot be expected to destroy the company he built,” Dillon said at the news conference.
The president isn’t required by law to completely divest from business interests. But no past president has had a web of business interests as vast as Trump, who owns properties around the world.