Emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution

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  1. PrettyPanther profile image83
    PrettyPantherposted 5 months ago

    The Constitution mentions emoluments in three provisions, each sometimes referred to as the “Emoluments Clause”:The Foreign Emoluments Clause(art. I, § 9, cl. 8):“[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”The Domestic Emoluments Clause(a.k.a.the Presidential Emoluments Clause) (art. II, § 1, cl.7): “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”The Ineligibility Clause(art. I, § 6, cl. 2): “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time;and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/IF11086.pdf

    Regarding alleged violations of the foreign emoluments clause:
    https://fortune.com/2019/04/30/trumps-e … s-lawsuit/

    Regarding alleged violations of the domestic emoluments clause:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics … ays-since/

    How do all of these instances of Trump's businesses receiving revenue from taxpayer-funded activities sit with you?  Does it strike you as acceptable, or as a violation of the Constitution?

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Give that presidents for a long time now have been partial owners of businesses that receive foreign income for services and products rendered, and that those presidents have benefited from those transactions, it seems a trifle odd to suddenly take this one to task for the same thing.

      IMO, that clause was meant to prevent the president from receiving bribes, not from owning, or partially owning, a business in a blind trust doing business with foreign entities whether individuals or countries.  At this point it seems far more of a political ploy to destroy a political opponent than it is an effort to enforce the constitution.

      1. IslandBites profile image87
        IslandBitesposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        "In a blind trust"?

      2. PrettyPanther profile image83
        PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        Do you have information the rest of us don't know about?

        Did Trump keep his 19 promises to insulate himself from his business? Only he knows.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          I'll go out on a limb and make an assumption that you don't think he did.

          On the other hand there is zero information supporting that assumption, so I'll take the other side - that he has little to no activity in his businesses.

          At the same time there is little (or no) difference between an outright bribe and grossly overpaying for a room at Trump hotel (as an example).  Either way, no president has announced he took a bribe - it has and always will be up to us to ferret that information out.  If he really is involved in his businesses I'll presume he is smart enough to keep them clean, meaning any bribes will have to be an envelope under the table, just as it always has been.  Again, as an example, the large "contributions" to the Clinton charity after the uranium sale come to mind - it was up to us to ferret that information out and then take necessary action.

          IMO, a far bigger problem is a president that pressures (or gives federal money to) a city or state to make laws or policies that would benefit his business.  Florida making tax breaks for Mar-a-lago in return for a new interstate or maybe a big FEMA donation, as a possible example.  Far, far more damaging and far, far more common than the target of the emoluments clause.  The concept of back-scratching in politics is rather well ingrained!

          1. promisem profile image97
            promisemposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            Meanwhile, the latest Trump corruption scandal continues to grow.

            Gee, I wonder why Air Force flights between the U.S. and Kuwait are being diverted to his hugely expensive resort in Scotland.

            https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/ … ry-1487662

            1. PrettyPanther profile image83
              PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

              I'm sure he'll dream up some excuse. They needed to restock their shillelaghs?

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                From your link: "But it noted over the weekend that the March Turnberry stop fell within Pentagon guidelines, with comparable or cheaper rates than other nearby hotels."

                Makes perfect sense to me not to allow overnight stays there - anything that might save us all money should not be allowed.  Especially not if it has long been approved by the Pentagon - such things are totally out of line.

                1. PrettyPanther profile image83
                  PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  Yes, I am thoroughly unsurprised that it all makes perfect sense to you.

            2. GA Anderson profile image92
              GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

              How do you know they are being diverted? From this link, and one from your previous post, it seems Prestwick is a routine refueling stop.

              There also seems to be a steady increase in its usage as a refueling stop since 2015. Your links state this. So why do you think flights are being "diverted" there? Do you know of another more appropriate refueling stop that has seen decreased use due to the diversion you mention?

              GA

              1. promisem profile image97
                promisemposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                I suppose I should have posted the original story:

                "The inquiry is part of a broader, previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at and around the Trump property in Scotland. According to a letter the panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members.

                Taken together, the incidents raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat — the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018."

                https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/ … at-1484337

                1. GA Anderson profile image92
                  GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  I haven't dug any deeper promisem. You quote, ". . . fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base." may be implying there is or was a closer military base that could have been used for all those Prestwick stops. Since the Prestwick stops were increasing in 2015 and 2016, as in pre-Trump, I suppose it would help the discussion to know if there was a military base that was a more appropriate stop. Your claim - your search. Let me know what you find. It won't be the first time I was wrong.

                  GA

              2. MizBejabbers profile image87
                MizBejabbersposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                Why would they be going there? It's not exactly as the crow flies from the U.S. to Kuwait.

                1. wilderness profile image95
                  wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  Actually, it isn't far from that or might actually be closer.  Keep in mind that the earth is a 3D object and that the closest path may not be due East.  Plus, it puts the path closer to land (Iceland) during the long Atlantic crossing if there is an emergency.  A great many flights use this basic path of what appears to go North then East or South East.

                  (All I have is a small globe, about 8" across, but a straight line string applied from Kuwait to Chicago - the great lakes show plainly - and passing right across Scotland isn't nearly long enough to go between the two in a line due East from Kuwait to Chicago even though the two are almost exactly the same latitude.  The shortest distance is indeed across Scotland.)

                  1. GA Anderson profile image92
                    GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                    Well damn! Wish I had a piece of string. ;-)

                    GA

                  2. Don W profile image83
                    Don Wposted 5 months agoin reply to this
    2. promisem profile image97
      promisemposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Trump is clearly abusing the Emoluments Clause when he requires:

      1. Pence to stay in a Trump resort that is two hours away from Dublin.

      2. Military personnel to stay at his resorts.

      3. Barr to hold a party in one of his hotels.

      There is no ploy. It's obvious corruption and a violation of the clause.

      https://slate.com/news-and-politics/201 … dging.html

      https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/ … be-1485447

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/pol … 135248001/

      1. GA Anderson profile image92
        GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        I followed all of your links promisem, but I didn't find any reference that Pres. Trump "required" the things you say he did.

        Why would you say something you can't support?

        GA

        1. promisem profile image97
          promisemposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          The support is logic:

          1. Why would anyone else require them to make choices at great expense of time and money when easier and cheaper options are available.

          2. Why would anyone take the risk of commiting such obviously unethical choices unless they felt pressured to do so.

          3. Why hasn't Trump issued a directive ensuring government employees don't make expensive choices that benefit him financially.

          4. Who else other than Trump would tell the Vice President of the United States to drive 2 hours away from his meetings in Dublin just to spend the night at a Trump resort.

          1. GA Anderson profile image92
            GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            I still don't see the support logic you speak of promisem.

            Taking the easiest first, the article about Barr's party stated that two other prime locations were unavailable, hence the Trump property choice. Your link also said Barr asked an ethics source about his choice and it was cleared.

            How does your logic support that Pres. Trump "required" Barr to use his property? If the two other prime choices were available, you might have a straw to clutch, but your link stated they weren't.

            As for easier and cheaper choices, your Prestwick articles noted that Turnberry was not necessarily a more expensive choice, and, was within Pentagon guidelines. Is this an example of your logic about using more expensive and less convenient choices?

            Do you have support for your logic that Pres. Trump told Vice-pres. Pence to stay at his property?

            As for a directive about appearances of conflicts of interest, wouldn't an ethics inquiry and ensuring expense choices were within stated guidelines serve that purpose?

            GA

            1. promisem profile image97
              promisemposted 5 months agoin reply to this

              Are there more than 3 hotels are in Washington DC?

              Why do you believe a Trump spokesperson who denies wrongdoing?

              Again, why would Pence drive two hours away from Dublin government meetings just to stay at a Trump resort?

              Are there any U.S. Air Force bases between the United States and Kuwait other than one in Scotland by a Trump resort?

              Sorry, but I fail to see how you don't see the logic.

              1. GA Anderson profile image92
                GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                I don't see the logic because it isn't supported by fact and I don't have a drum to beat.

                Who's criteria should I use to look for prestige locations that would have met whatever standards Barr wanted for his party? Do you know of ones other than those unavailable locations mentioned in your link?

                Until I see some logic that shows I should not trust the Defense Dept. why should I automatically disbelieve them? Is it your logic that, now, merely being under the Trump administration is reason enough?

                You still haven't shown that Pres. Trump required Pence to stay at his property, as you stated. Doesn't your logic require any support beyond your belief?

                As for the refueling bases, I don't know. I haven't looked. But, If I had made the claim you did I would have looked before making that claim.

                GA

                1. promisem profile image97
                  promisemposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  It's a fact that there are more than 3 luxury hotels in Washington DC.

                  It's a fact that our Vice President drove 2 hours away from his Dublin meetings just to stay at a Trump resort.

                  It's a fact that Air Force flights between the U.S. and Kuwait are going all the way up to a civilian airport by a Trump resort in Scotland to get refuled and have their crews stay in a Trump resort.

                  Do you deny these facts?

                  In light of the thousands of proven Trump lies and most recently the Alabama fiasco, I'm astonished anyone still takes denials from Trump people at face value.

                  The sun rose yesterday in Germany. By your logic, I have to prove it, but I can't because I personally didn't see it.

                  But by my logic, it did because of overwhelming and obvious evidence.

                  1. GA Anderson profile image92
                    GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                    Well hell, promisem, maybe we could ask Barr, (he is paying for it with his own money),  what his accommodation needs were; group size and banquet room needs, and what level of prestige services he wanted, and etc. etc. And then we could evaluate all those luxury hotels in D.C. to see if your logic is right that Barr only chose the Trump property because the president required him to.

                    Then your fact of the number of luxury hotels might have some relevance.

                    You are right that it is a fact that Pence stayed at a property that was two hours from his meeting place(s), but where is your fact proving the president required him to?

                    Your own links provide a bit of insight into your Air Force point.

                    The first Prestwick-related linkhad these points:

                    "The frequency of the stops and overnight stays has increased steadily each year, from 95 stops and 40 overnights in 2015; 145 and 75 in 2016; 180 and 116 in 2017; 257 and 208 in 2018; and 259 stops and 220 overnights through August 2019."

                    That means there were 647 flights stopping at Prestwick since Trump became president. So far, your Politico article says we are talking about 4 flights out of 647. 

                    Also, of those 647 flights, only 544 had overnight layovers. A little better, but still only 4 out of 544. Those don't seem like a significant numbers Scott.

                    And of at least one of those flights the Air force says the Turnberry rates were cheaper than other accommodations closer to the airport:

                    "That includes a stopover in March of this year in which a seven-person crew of a C-17 cargo plane from the Alaska Air National Guard en route to Kuwait stayed at the plush resort. At least one member of the crew was frustrated that the food and drink was over his government allowance, even though the Air Force has said the nightly rate was less expensive than other potential options closer to the airport"

                    Maybe that other fuel cost point needs some digging also. Your Politico link pointed out fuel would be cheaper at military bases, but it also says the DOD had contracted with Prestwich for "standardized fuel pricing." I wonder if that means just a little discount or a big discount to be competitive with military base prices?

                    From your second Prestwick link.

                    Another of those four flights mention "fuel limitations" which may honestly be taken to mean Prestwick was as far as they could go without running out of fuel.

                    "The 185th air refueling wing out of Sioux City, Iowa, which was making the trip, had about 35 to 40 soldiers and airmen that needed lodging, and they ultimately stayed at Turnberry. According to the spokesperson, the crew doubled up in rooms and were provided transportation to and from Prestwick.

                    The Prestwick stop was due to fuel “limitations” on the flight out Kosovo, the spokesperson said."


                    It also noted Turnberry's competitive rates relative to closer accommodations.

                    Neither article stated that Pres. Trump had required these air services to use Prestwick.

                    So your fact only applies to 4 of 647 flights. That doesn't sound like much of a requirement.

                    This Air Force closing statement sums it up:

                    "Officials insist there has been no evidence uncovered of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, the implication that the military is enriching the president is damaging and the service appears eager to quickly assess whether the practice should continue.

                    “The Air Force takes this very seriously," Thomas told POLITICO. "The trust and confidence of the American people and Congress is critically important.”


                    Combine that with what seems an obvious Politico bias, (two major articles on .6% of all flights?), and I am back to my original thought.

                    It is all about speculation and appearance - not a presidential requirement.

                    In the end you may well find some evidence that Trump put his thumb on the scales, but at this point, your declarations of requirements and facts don't seem supportable by more than your opinion.

                    ps. I am not accepting or defending any denial by Pres. Trump. I am simply saying you are making claims that aren't yet supported by facts.

                    GA

                2. promisem profile image97
                  promisemposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  By the way, you might be interested in this massive list of U.S. Air Force bases in Europe.

                  They are quite a bit more direct to Kuwait than Scotland. But none of them have nearby Trump resorts.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U … h_Atlantic

  2. PrettyPanther profile image83
    PrettyPantherposted 5 months ago

    It really doesn't matter whether or not Trump asked or required any government official, employee, or organization to stay at his hotels. It is a violation for him
    to benefit unless it has been cleared by Congress.

    Once again, we are quibbling over details while the big picture is obvious.

    1. GA Anderson profile image92
      GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Yes, we may be quibbling over details, but, more importantly we are quibbling over accuracy. Is an inaccurate truth as true as an accurate one?

      Jumping into the guessing arena, I can see the probability that Pence chose his location due to presidential influence, but I would see it as an inferred influence - not hard influence like actually "requiring."

      I might also see the possibility that that same inferred influence may have affected Barr's location choice, but I am not as certain in that case.

      But, I am skeptical about any influence in the Prestwick issue.

      So while, (as previously mentioned), more information may be discovered that supports all of the previous claims, (I would not be too surprised); at this point, there is no factual support that these activities were required by the president, or facts to support the claim that logic supported the truth of the "required" claim.

      GA

      1. PrettyPanther profile image83
        PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        I agree with everything you said. But....I see the discussion as a distraction from the overall implication of corruption.  I'm waiting for someone to compare spending by government officials, employees, and organizations, both domestic and foreign, at Trump properties prior to his election versus after.  I have a feeling there will be a vast difference.  It is corrupt whether he "required" it or not.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          That would an interesting topic - usage before and after he became president.  Although I would expect it to rise somewhat simply because some people would find it exciting somehow to stay at the President's hotel.  And certainly some rabid supporters would stay there just to "help him out", though his support base does not seem to include many that have the wealth to do so.

          But if the properties were used before that event, what makes them suddenly "corrupt" to continue behavior that is the same as before his election?

          1. PrettyPanther profile image83
            PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            On this we could agree.  If analysis shows that there was relatively little change from before and after he became president, then I would be willing to let it go.

            1. wilderness profile image95
              wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

              Well, little change as a percentage of travel.  If travel has increased dramatically (as it appears it has) then one could reasonably expect usage to go up a similar amount.

        2. GA Anderson profile image92
          GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          And there you have it. The "implication of corruption" drawn from anti-Trump inference and speculation presented as "fact."

          You have declared it corrupt based on appearance and speculation.

          GA

          1. PrettyPanther profile image83
            PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            I don't believe stating there is an implication of corruption is the same as declaring it corrupt. It is a fact that Trump is benefiting financially from taxpayer-funded stays at his properties, which would not have occurred had he divested from his businesses as he promised he would before becoming president. Why did he promise that in the first place?

            1. GA Anderson profile image92
              GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

              But, but, you said . . . "It is corrupt whether he "required" it or not."

              And then you have the nerve to ask me about a Trump promise, geesh. ;-)

              Unfortunately, for you, I am on the fence about this Emollients clause controversy. I think that technically I must agree with you, he should have kept his promise, but realistically I am not so sure it is the crime it is being portrayed as.

              GA

              1. PrettyPanther profile image83
                PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                I personally believe it to be corrupt but I allow for the possibility it is not. Is that clear as mud now?

                I sit on the planning commission in my little town and I'm not even allowed to sit in my chair on the panel, much less vote, during a hearing if the decision would either harm or benefit me financially. And, before I can serve I must disclose my financial interests.

                Why is Trump allowed to get away with this crap?

                1. wilderness profile image95
                  wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  Because, unlike you, he has put his financial interests into a blind trust - he does not know if it would benefit him or not.

                  As I understand it, that is required of a president.  If you believe he has not done that it is up to you to prove it, not up to him to prove his innocence.  Proof of the "crap" is on your shoulders, not on his.

                  1. PrettyPanther profile image83
                    PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                    You.might want to read up on this "blind trust" you keep referring to though I'm guessing it will all be A okay with you anyway.

                2. GA Anderson profile image92
                  GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

                  Yep, I understand, clear as mud.

                  GA

    2. Don W profile image83
      Don Wposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Anyone: "They have cut down the forest!"

      GA: "No, they have cut down 7362 trees. There are still 100 left, so technically the forest is still there. Your statement is inaccurate! (ps.I am not accepting or defending the cutting down of trees. I am simply saying you are making claims that aren't yet supported by facts)".

      Of course I exaggerate and I kid smile

      Hopefully we all agree it is reasonable to raise the issues in this thread, and ask the questions related to those issues. People evidently want those answers, so it's also right for Congress to represent the people, by acting as their voice in asking the current administration for those answers.

      I'm somewhat encouraged by the response from the Pentagon, which seems to be taking the issue seriously. When I read the article I was waiting for it to say the Pentagon was refusing to provide Congress with any information (therefore preventing Congress doing its job) as has been the case with other agencies and Departments.

      That could still end up being the case (I don't trust the current administration enough to rule it out at this stage) but the initial response from the Pentagon seems positive in terms of its recognition of the importance of the military not only being uncorrupted, but also being seen to be uncorrupted.

      1. GA Anderson profile image92
        GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        You have the number of trees mixed-up Don. You reversed them. I wouldn't argue that 1.3% of something equates to an event, and I would also not argue that .6% equates to an event, (which is the effect of that "required" declaration). That was my point.  Would your analogy carry the same point if the number of trees were properly placed, (as in reversed)?

        Remember, accuracy is important when more than appearances are considered.

        However, if appearances are all that matters, then maybe I was off-base challenging that declared fact of the event being "required." And if so, why the Hell hasn't Trump been impeached yet with all that solid "appearance" evidence? Are the Democrats such imbeciles that they can't even get it done with so much proven evidence?

        *Of course I was just kidding too. I am sure your opinions and perspectives are formed by more than just appearances.

        GA

        1. PrettyPanther profile image83
          PrettyPantherposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          It is quite common for government employees and elected officials to go to considerable lengths to avoid the appearance of corruption.  This used to be the norm.  My, how times change.

          1. GA Anderson profile image92
            GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            You are certainly right about that. Times have changed.

            GA

        2. Don W profile image83
          Don Wposted 5 months agoin reply to this

          "You have the number of trees mixed-up Don."

          I wouldn't elevate my comment to an analogy GA. Just an exaggeration for humorous effect; a caricature with a modicum of resemblance.

          If I were to make a serious point, it would probably be that I hope we don't allow specific instances of behavior that may be inappropriate (depending on the results of any investigation) to become normalized, by not considering it as part of a wider pattern of behavior.

          1. GA Anderson profile image92
            GA Andersonposted 5 months agoin reply to this

            I am with you on that thought Don.  However, from both sides, I am not so optimistic that we haven't screamed our way right up to that point.

            I think PrettyPanther's last comment summed it up well:

            "It is quite common for government employees and elected officials to go to considerable lengths to avoid the appearance of corruption.  This used to be the norm.  My, how times change."

            If civility, decorum, and statesmanship were the only normalcy our friend Valeant laments, I could heartily agree with him, (her?). But the normalcy or status quo that got President Trump elected is not one I ever want to return to.

            But like Valeant, I too miss the days when your words meant something and integrity was a valued characteristic.

            GA

      2. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 5 months agoin reply to this

        In the game of politics, and political attacks, perception always trumps reality.  I'm not so sure that it is actually more important to the country, though - perception will always vary by individual and so will priorities.  Some won't care, for instance, that Trump earns a dollar from a business he owns but does not operate as long as the country saves $2.  Some even won't care if Trump earns $2 as long as the country saves a dollar.

    3. promisem profile image97
      promisemposted 5 months agoin reply to this

      Now that I'm back from a quick vacation, I can say you are quite right about the violation and the big picture, which his supporters seem to miss.

      It's corruption if Trump benefits from it, if it grows and if he didn't stop it.

      Even a parent knows you can pressure a child to do something they don't want to do without actually saying the words. Expectation = requirement.

      https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/ … rt-1493624

 
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