Politico Is Mistaken, It Would Be Fun and Easy for Donald Trump to Divest
Politico badly misled readers this morning in an article that said Trump "can't simply divest from his businesses." The article cited a number of experts who explained how difficult and complicated it would be for Trump to sell off his various businesses, many of which have complex ownership arrangements, along with debts and other legal obligations.
While selling Trump's business enterprises in short order would be complicated, as I explained shortly after the election, this is not what is necessary for Donald Trump to avoid conflicts of interest. The key to the process I outline in that piece is that Trump arrange to get independent teams of auditors to provide assessments of the property. I suggested he go with the middle assessment provided by three teams of auditors. This would limit the likelihood of a major error in the assessment.
Trump would then buy an insurance policy that would guarantee him the estimate from this middle audit. The enterprises would then be turned over to an executor who would run and offload the businesses with the goal of maximizing the value. When the businesses are sold off the proceeds would be placed in a blind trust. If the cumulative value from the sales exceeds the estimate, then the proceeds go to a charity of Trump's choosing, but not under his control. If the proceeds from the sales are less than the value of the estimate he collects on the insurance policy.
This is a process that should be fair to Donald Trump and can be done quickly. It eliminates his conflicts of interest as soon he buys the insurance policy. Trump should have been going in this direction the day after the election, in which case he surely would have an insurance policy in force by now. However, if he were to take steps to come clean now, he should still be able to end his conflicts in the first weeks of his presidency.