RICK WILKING / REUTERS
Donald Trump really, really doesn’t want his staffers leaking info to the press
A confidentiality agreement filed as part of a lawsuit between Donald Trump and an ex-staffer shows just how far the presumptive GOP nominee will go to ensure his employees don’t talk about what goes on behind closed doors.
The open-ended agreement allows Trump himself to define what information it covers and forces all disagreements to be settled in private. It was submitted on Tuesday as part of a lawsuit the campaign filed against Sam Nunberg, a former staffer fired last year over racist posts on Facebook, and unsealed Wednesday.
The Trump campaign is seeking $10 million in damages because it says Nunberg leaked information to the press. Nunberg, in addition to disputing the contract, says he did not leak the information.
The Trump NDA also demonstrates just how powerful these types of agreements can be ― it’s slanted against the signatory and leaves far more power in Trump’s hands. Corporations are increasingly favoring these types of broad contracts.
The agreement prevents the signatory from disclosing any confidential information or saying anything negative about “Mr. Trump, any Family Member, any Trump Company, or any Family member company,” or any assets any of those entities own. Confidential information, the document says, includes anything Trump wishes to remain private.
The agreement also includes a very broad non-compete clause that prohibits Nunberg from working or volunteering for any state or national campaign other than Trump’s while Trump is a presidential candidate.
The agreement also says that if Trump chooses, he can sue Nunberg in New York court or decide to take the case to binding arbitration, and Nunberg cannot contest Trump’s decision. In other words, Nunberg has no choice but binding arbitration, while Trump retains his right to sue Nunberg in any court if he wants to.
The campaign’s use of such a broad confidentiality agreement combined with forced arbitration would likely have kept the details of the dispute secret, but for one point: The contract the Trump campaign is seeking to enforce was between Nunberg and an entity called Trump 2012 PCA. Nunberg says that Trump 2012 PCA is a fake entity and that the NDA is therefore invalid.
Instead, Nunberg says the contract that should apply is the consulting agreement he signed with the Trump exploratory committee. That contract doesn’t include an NDA, and requires that all disagreements be settled in a trial by judge.
Trump is known to require both his corporate and political employees to sign confidentiality agreements. Recently, the Associated Press reported that Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was prohibited by a confidentiality agreement from revealing private or negative information about Trump in his role as a news analyst on CNN, leading to questions about what value he could provide viewers beyond pro-Trump talking points.
It’s not just Trump’s senior staffers, however, who are required to sign NDAs. The Associated Press reported in June that “campaign volunteers and even a maker of his famous ‘Make America Great Again’ hats” have to sign NDAs.
Read the agreement below:
FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 07/12/2016