February 1, 2023

New York’s Attorney General just put the final nail in the coffin of Trump’s “charity” foundation

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Another day, another proven example of our president’s criminality.


In the latest development in one of the now 17 separate criminal investigations into President Donald Trump, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced today that the state would be closing the Donald J. Trump Foundation due to “a shocking pattern of illegality” that was “willful and repeated,” including unlawfully coordinating with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” the state attorney general said.

The $1.75 million remaining in the foundation’s coffers will be given away to other charities approved by the Attorney General’s office and a state judge, according to The Washington Post.

The agreement with the president to shutter his self-dealing “charity” is not, however, the end of the investigation — or the penalties — for Trump and his family in the matter of his foundation. New York state continues to pursue a lawsuit to claw back $2.8 million in restitution and penalties for the foundation’s malfeasance and to get a ruling that would ban President Trump and his three oldest children from serving on the boards of other New York charities.

“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” Ms. Underwood said. “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.”

The state’s case against the president’s foundation alleges that it was used as a personal piggy bank used by Trump and his family at their whim, including to illegally help pay campaign expenses.

“The Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits from Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization,” Underwood wrote in the initial suit.

Most of the money in Trump’s foundation didn’t even come from the president’s personal fortune but was solicited from Trump’s friends and business partners, with WWE wrestling owners Vince and Linda McMahon listed as the largest donors in recent years.

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According to The Post:

“The attorney general’s investigation turned up evidence that Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — all listed as officers of the charity — had never held a board meeting. The board hadn’t met since 1999. The charity’s official treasurer, Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, told investigators that he wasn’t aware that he was on the board.”

The level of mismanagement of the foundation was evident by the treasurer’s response to investigators’ questions regarding how the charity vetted its donations to ensure that they were following applicable regulations.

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“There’s no policy, just so you understand,” Weisselberg responded.

Underwood’s investigation also demonstrated that during the 2016 campaign Trump basically gave his then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski control of disbursing the foundation’s funds in any way he saw fit to benefit Trump’s candidacy.

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“Is there any way we can make some disbursements . . . this week while in Iowa?” the lawsuit cites Lewandowski writing in an email.

Charities are forbidden from donating to political campaigns by federal campaign finance law.

With yet another example of the president’s criminal behavior proven in the courts, one can only wonder how much longer Republicans will be able to continue to tolerate the stench of his thoroughly rotten reputation lingering and clinging to their own political futures.

Now that a Democratic majority will be controlling the incoming House of Representatives impeachment is a distinct possibility. It will only take 13 Republican Senators to realize that it would be in their ultimate personal interest to disassociate themselves from Trump to gain a conviction, and, as evidence of his criminality continues to add up, the 22 Republican senators up for reelection in 2020 must be asking themselves how much they are willing to destroy their own careers to support a felonious unindicted co-conspirator.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by David A. Fahrenthold at The Washington Post and by Shane Goldmacher at The New York Times.

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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