Trump Foundation To Dissolve Amid New York Attorney General's Investigation

Saul Bowman
December 21, 2018

Attorney General Barbara Underwood's lawsuit alleging Trump and his family illegally operated the foundation as an extension of his businesses and his presidential campaign will continue.

Underwood said the foundation's decision to shutter was "an important victory for the rule of law".

The lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation also seeks to recoup US$2.8 million (S$3.8 million) and ban Mr Trump and his three eldest children from leadership roles in any other NY charity.

The case against the Trump Foundation continues, with the state of NY seeking $2.8 million in damages and a ruling temporarily prohibiting Trump Foundation trustees including Trump and his children Eric, Ivanka, and Donald Trump, Jr., from serving as directors or trustees on other charitable boards.

President Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at New York Democrats over their efforts to shut down his charitable foundation.

According to the suit, Trump used foundation funds to settle lawsuits, promote his Trump-branded hotels, and for personal spending - including the purchase of a portrait that was displayed at one of his golf clubs.

The attorney general has to approve the recipients of the funds, and a judge has to sign off on the deal.

The Washington Post and others have found that Trump donated little of his personal money to the charity after 2006, and the attorney general's lawsuit accuses the foundation of self-dealing.

NY filed a lawsuit last spring accusing the foundation of operating like an extension of Trump's businesses and political campaign.

"I wanted to close the Foundation so as not to be in conflict with politics", Trump said in a tweet. Shortly after the 2016 election, Trump sought to dissolve the foundation, though the NY AG prevented him from doing so while an investigation was underway. In addition, NY authorities are probing whether the president or his charity broke state criminal tax laws. Despite daughter Ivanka Trump officially resigning from her position as a director with the foundation before assuming a position as an unpaid advisor to her father's White House, Trump remained president of the foundation during his entire first year in office.

In a legal motion at the time, Trump attorney Alan S. Futerfas argued that former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "made it his stated mission to "lead the resistance" and attack Mr. Trump whenever possible" and "used his public antipathy for Mr. Trump to solicit donations for his own re-election campaign and advance his career interests and aspirations".

Schneiderman resigned in May after allegations that he physically abused women he had dated; he denied the claims.

James told NBC News that she plans to investigate several aspects of Trump's life when she takes office.

As a scholar of federal and state tax law, I believe that this agreement marks at most a modest victory for Underwood in her effort to hold Trump and his children accountable for alleged violations of state charity law. Shady Eric was head of New Yorkers for Clinton, and refused to even look at the corrupt Clinton Foundation.

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