Politics

Trump’s Charity, Amid Allegations of a “Shocking Pattern of Illegality”, Will Now Dissolve

Published on December 18, 2018 by Athena Pallas

President Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, has made an agreement with the New York Attorney General’s office to dissolve under state supervision, while the Attorney General’s office will continue pursuing a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation. In that lawsuit the Attorney General seeks $2.8 million in restitution plus penalties and, importantly, seeks to bar Donald Trump and his three oldest children from serving on the boards of other New York-based charities because of the “shocking pattern of illegality” (The Hill) in the dealings of the Trump Foundation, according to the current New York Attorney General, Barbara Underwood. Describing that pattern, Underwood said, according to The Hill, “Mr. Trump used charitable assets to pay off the legal obligations of entities he controlled, to promote Trump hotels, to purchase personal items, and to support his presidential election campaign.”

The lawsuit against the Trump Foundation, where Donald, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump are also named as defendants, will continue to be pursued by Underwood’s successor, Letitia James, who takes over in January and who has vowed to “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well“. The news today that the Trump Foundation had agreed to dissolve amid the allegation is big news indeed. According to The Hill:

President Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, has agreed to dissolve amid allegations from the New York Attorney General’s office that it engaged in a “shocking pattern of illegality.” New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced Tuesday that her office will continue to pursue its lawsuit against the foundation, which seeks $2.8 millions in restitution plus penalties, as well as an order barring Trump and his three oldest children — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump — from serving on the boards of other New York Charities…Underwood’s lawsuit, filed in June, alleged that Trump used the charity for political and personal gain…Underwood said the stipulation reached Tuesday accomplishes a key piece of the lawsuit. “Under the terms, the Trump Foundation can only dissolve under judicial supervision – and it can only distribute its remaining charitable assets to reputable organizations approved by my office.”

This agreement comes after a New York State Supreme Court judge last month ruled that the state’s lawsuit against Trump’s charity could go forward, dashing hopes by the Trumps and their lawyers that the case might be dismissed. Attorney General Underwood said in a statement about the state’s lawsuit, according to The Hill, that “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.”

While New York’s lawsuit against the Trump Foundation is still pending, the state has succeeded in getting the charity to shut down, so that its remaining assets will be distributed only to organizations approved by the Attorney General’s office, ending the pattern of alleged self-dealing and misuse of charitable funds for which Trump and all three of his oldest children may be held responsible.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.