Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an anti-Trump watchdog group out of Washington, may have misled and even exaggerated some key claims in their CREW vs. Trump lawsuit where they accuse President Trump of using the power of his office to enhance profits of his own businesses.
The plaintiffs’ professions are an essential aspect to the disposition of the case. Before the court rules on the merits of their suit — which alleges that Trump’s commercial entities profit from business with foreign governments, in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause — it must first establish that the plaintiffs have standing. In order to bring a lawsuit, a plaintiff must first establish that the defendant has inflicted a concrete, tangible, and particularized injury against them.
It appears, however, that three plaintiffs may have overstated the extent of their connection to the hospitality industry, and thus their claim of standing.
A CREW spokesperson did not return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s inquiries in time for publication.
The alleged misrepresentations were first noted by law Professors Josh Blackman and Seth Barrett Tillman on the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog. Blackman and Tillman have filed amicus (or “friend-of-the-court”) briefs in the litigation, arguing that the president is exempt from the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause.
t is not clear that either Goode or ROC have been authorized to bring a suit by their respective commercial entities, and CREW’s lawsuit is silent on this important question.
In turn, NRO reported that the third plaintiff, Phaneuf, appears only tangentially connected to Washington’s competitive event planning industry. CREW’s lawsuit claims she makes her living organizing diplomatic soirees in Washington for foreign governments, and has lost business as foreign leaders elect to forgo her services and hold functions at the Trump International Hotel. Phaneuf, however, told NRO that she is in fact a full-time employee of a private equity firm, and has only organized a handful of social gatherings, none of which were for foreign clients.