President Donald Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, will be dissolved following a court decision last month allowing a suit brought by New York Attorney General’s Office alleging wrongdoing to move forward.
Under the stipulation agreement announced by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Tuesday, her office, under judicial supervision, will review and approve proposed recipient charities of the organization’s remaining $1.75 million in assets.
In its lawsuit filed in June, the AG’s office seeks $2.8 billion plus penalties from the Trump Foundation.
The suit accused the foundation of engaging in “a pattern of persistent illegal conduct, occurring over more than a decade, that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump’s personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Underwood, a Democrat, said “Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation – including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more. This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”
She said the stipulation announced Tuesday would not halt the lawsuit:
“We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”
In addition to dissolving the charity, Underwood has also asked the court to bar Trump’s three oldest children — Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, who served on the foundation’s board — from sitting on the boards of other charities while the litigation is ongoing.
Last month, after a New York judge allowed the legal action to proceed, Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas said in a statement that “all of the money raised by the Foundation went to charitable causes” and that “we remain confident in the ultimate outcome of these proceedings,” The New York Times reported.
The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump also denied his namesake foundation had done anything wrong. In late 2016, he wanted to close it down following the presidential election, but the New York AG blocked the move in order to facilitate its investigation.
In a Twitter post published in June, the same day the lawsuit was announced, Trump defended his foundation. He accused “sleazy New York Democrats” of targeting him and proclaimed, “I won’t settled the case!”
The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018
According to The Washington Post, the largest single donation in the foundation’s history was $264,231 to the Central Park Conservancy in 1989.
“During the 2016 campaign, state investigators allege, Trump effectively ‘ceded control’ of his charity to his political campaign,” the paper reported.
Trump held a veterans charity event in Iowa in late January 2016 days before the Hawkeye State’s caucuses, which raised $5.6 million.
The fact-checker Snopes found that the money went first to the Trump Foundation, which then distributed it to dozens of veterans organizations in increments ranging mostly between $75,000 to $200,000.
Seemingly in conflict with The Post’s account of $264,000 being largest single donation in the charity’s history, the Navy SEAL Foundation received $465,000 and the Green Beret Foundation netted $350,000, according to Snopes.
Republicans have often accused former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of engaging in a “pay to play” arrangement with private donors in relation to the Clinton Foundation, which is also located in New York.
The Center for Responsive Politics reported last week that the Clinton Foundation’s revenue hit a 15-year low after the 2016 presidential election.
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