This bill — known as the Presidential Accountability Act — would require the president and vice president to place their assets in a certified blind trust or make a disclosure to the Office of Government Ethics and the public when they make a decision that affects their personal finances.
A blind trust is intended to prevent conflicts of interest arising between the performance of a politician’s official duties and their personal financial interests. They are set up in such a way that the people whose assets go into the trust have no knowledge of what the trust has invested in and no right to intervene in how those assets are handled.
Under current law, federal officeholders are prohibited from engaging in government business when they stand to personally profit, but the president and vice president are exempted. This bill would eliminate that exemption, and also prohibit the president and vice president from engaging in government business which they or their families can benefit financially from.
Presidents and vice presidents would be able to retroactively request an exemption from this rule if a national emergency necessitates that they take immediate actions which affect their personal financial interests if they ask for the exemption within 48 hours of taking the action. If the Office of Government Ethics finds that an exemption wouldn’t have been granted under the circumstances, the president and vice president would be required to repay whatever benefit they gained.