Journal of Law and Policy


Classical republican ideals played an important role in the formation of our country. Guided by these ideals, several provisions were included in the Constitution to protect the United States from these harms, including the Emoluments Clause. This Clause prohibits United States officials from accepting certain types of benefits from foreign nations, except with Congress's consent. It protects our national interests by ensuring that federal officials remain free from improper pressures from foreign states and act for the welfare of our country. This provision promotes transparency and accountability and helps guard against corrupt influences that could undermine, and even destroy, a nation. This Article focuses on the significance of the Emoluments Clause to the protection of the American public and security of our country. It provides a historical overview of the Clause, discusses the parameters of the Clause and considers the varying interpretations of the provision. It further examines how the clause protects our national security interests by: (1) requiring that federal officials remain free from corrupt influences to prevent harm to our country; (2) mandating transparency and accountability concerning possible influences of foreign states; and (3) fostering trust of federal officials. These national security considerations should be central to the interpretation of the scope of this constitutional provision. Extraordinary care must be taken to comply with the Emoluments Clause to ensure that the interests of the American people and the United States determine the way in which our country is governed.