Because of course they did.
News breaking this morning involves a suit brought against the Trump Foundation by the New York Attorney General, alleging that President Trump’s “charity” foundation broke state law that restricts any charity’s participation in election activity.
Specifically named in the suit is the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump.
So, his whole family was being skeevy with funds donated to the foundation, meant for charitable efforts.
“Self-dealing” is the term being used, and it pretty much defines the goal of this presidency.
Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, and its directors, Donald J. Trump (“Mr. Trump”), Donald J. Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. The petition filed today alleges 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. The Attorney General initiated a special proceeding to dissolve the Trump Foundation under court supervision and obtain restitution of $2.8 million and additional penalties. The AG’s lawsuit also seeks a ban from future service as a director of a New York not-for-profit of 10 years for Mr. Trump and one year for each of the Foundation’s other board members, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. The Attorney General also sent referral letters today to the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission, identifying possible violations of federal law for further investigation and legal action by those federal agencies.
So they want to stop the Trump Foundation, shut it down and prevent more unwitting citizens from lining the pockets of the Trumps.
The statement further asserts that the Foundation was used for purchasing personal items, paying legal debts, promoting Trump hotels and businesses, and for illegally funding the 2016 campaign.
An apparent email from Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski makes it quite clear that monies from the foundation were being used before the Iowa caucus.
In violation of state and federal law, senior Trump campaign staff, including Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski, dictated the timing, amounts, and recipients of grants by the Foundation to non-profits. pic.twitter.com/7MnLbwDqlY— New York Attorney General (@NewYorkStateAG) June 14, 2018
These are concerns that were raised during the primary season, actually.
The Trump Foundation also entered into at least five self-dealing transactions that were unlawful because they benefitted Mr. Trump or businesses he controls. These include a $100,000 payment to settle legal claims against Mr. Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort; a $158,000 payment to settle legal claims against his Trump National Golf Club in 2008 from a hole-in-one tournament; and a $10,000 payment at a charity auction to purchase a painting of Mr. Trump that was displayed at the Trump National Doral in Miami. Following commencement of the Attorney General’s investigation, the Foundation paid excise taxes on three of the transactions and Mr. Trump restored funds for the transactions to the Foundation, but the Foundation has not paid excise taxes on the Mar-A-Lago or Trump National Golf Club transactions.
Remember when Trump refused to show up for one of the GOP debates, saying instead that he would hold a separate rally and raise money for veterans?
He raised around $6 million at the beginning of 2016, but it took months for any groups to see a single penny of it.
That money was put in the foundation, and only a bit over $5 million was paid out, with the rest going to “administrative fees.” That looks different in this light, doesn’t it?
The statement by Underwood’s office further says:
“As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” said Attorney General Underwood. “This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the Foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”
Let’s be clear. Trump and his kids can easily raise $2.8 million to pay off the fine. The bigger issue here is that New York is seeking to have Trump’s scam foundation dissolved. It’s not exactly the same as one of his many bankruptcies, but it’s definitely one less piggy bank he’ll have to raid.
This is one to watch.