The Foreign Emoluments Clause which is also known as the Title of Nobility Clause restricts anybody working for the U.S government from receiving gifts, remuneration, a position in an offices or titles from foreign states without the knowledge of Congress. The act was introduced so as to counter corruption and foreign influence within the U.S government.

The plaintiff's claims

According to the suit papers, the 196 plaintiffs argue that Trump is engaging with foreign governments so that his businesses empire can benefit. The plaintiffs accuse Trump of ignoring the Foreign Emoluments Clause when receiving financial benefits from foreign governments; this has thus made any international business dealings Trump has engaged with foreign governments less transparent to Congress.

According to the suit papers, Donald Trump has over 500 business entities across the world. They mostly include commercial buildings, hotels, and golf courses in more than 20 countries. The paper also states that Trump's attorney has admitted that his client has received funds from foreign governments a trend that will continue as long as he is president.

Trump's benefits from foreign governments

The plaintiffs state that on February this year, the Chinese government registered a trademark for Trump for branded construction services, after a ten-year legal battle that favored him. In late February and early March this year, the government of China approved 38 new trademarks for Trump and one of his new business empires in China. The businesses were spa and massage parlors, hotels, insurance and real estate businesses, golf clubs as well as bars and restaurants.

Trump was accused of receiving such favors because he was now president of the United States.

The suit papers also quote one of Hong Kongs intellectual consultant. The expert said that he has never seen trademark applications approved so fast as this one. Receiving this trademarks would protect trump's businesses against counterfeits.

There are other numerous allegations including Trump's hotel in D.C being used to host foreign diplomats from Brazil and Turkey after last year's elections. Sales pitches about the president's newest hotel were also conducted during the meeting.

Foreign Emoluments Clause cases in the past

The 7th President of the United States Jackson Andrew asked for permission from Congress to allow him to keep a gold medal as a gift he received from Venezuelan leader Simmon Bolivar, the permission was denied, and the coin was sent to the department of state.

During the world war II, Congress authorized those who fought in the armed forces to accept any medals, emblems, and decorations from allied nations.

Former President Barack Obama was allowed to receive the Nobel Peace Price back in 2009 because the awarding committee was not a foreign state nor was it controlled by a foreign government.