January 20, 2017

NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union has taken legal action seeking documents on conflicts of interest and violations of the Constitution and federal law posed by President Trump’s and his family’s business interests. The organization also released a Seven-Point Plan laying out how it intends to challenge other Trump policies and protect the Constitution. 

The efforts are made possible by the organization’s new Constitution Defense Fund, which was established following the election. 

The first legal action, filed yesterday, is a Freedom of Information Act request asking several government agencies to turn over all documents relating to President Trump’s actual or potential conflicts of interest to his business and family connections. The request seeks legal opinions, memoranda, advisories, and communications from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, the Office of Government Ethics, the General Services Administration, and the office of Personnel Management from November 9, 2016, to January 20, 2017. The request includes email and all other communication to and from the presidential transition team.

“We are bringing this first legal action using the Freedom of Information Act to underscore the fact that President Trump is not above the law. Trump took the oath, but he didn't take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family’s business interests comply with the Constitution and other federal statutes,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “Freedom of information requests are our democracy’s X-ray, and they will be vitally important to expose and curb the abuses of a president who believes the rules don’t apply to him and his family. We also know that more legal action will be needed when the new administration attempts to enact some of their unconstitutional proposals. The ACLU’s charge, laid out in our Seven-Point Plan, is to stand ready to confront any unconstitutional elements of the administration’s agenda — today on day one and for the next four years.”

The ACLU’s Seven-Point Plan details potential legal challenges to the Trump administration’s enacting of unconstitutional policies, including:

  • Demanding government accountability and transparency
  • Protecting the rights of immigrants
  • Defending reproductive rights
  • Securing the First Amendment
  • Advancing LGBT rights
  • Defend core civil rights and civil liberties from erosion
  • Mobilizing Americans to defend our Constitution

Over the next four years, the ACLU will implement its Seven-Point Plan by adding up to 100 full-time employees across the country, paid for by its Constitution Defense Fund, which has already attracted nearly 400,000 donations since Election Day. 

“The ACLU has established the Constitution Defense Fund to bolster its ability to add staff to litigate, advocate, and mobilize Americans to make change at the federal level, at statehouses and in the court of public opinion,” added Romero. “With thousands of lawyers now under the command of Trump and his appointees, we need all the support we can get in order to litigate against the administration and deploy other hard-nosed tactics in the battle to protect the rights of all people. We will litigate every unconstitutional policy this administration tries to enact, robbing them of time and bandwidth, making their style of governing cumbersome and hopefully impossible.”

The FOIA request is here:

https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/trump-conflicts-interest-foia-request

The ACLU Seven-Point Plan and details on the Constitution Defense Fund are here:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/here-aclus-7-point-plan-action-take-trump-administration

More information about the Constitution Defense Fund can be found here:

https://action.aclu.org/secure/stand-aclu-6?s_src=UNW170101INA&alt_src=UNV170101INA&ms=web_170120_Press_Release

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