WILLFUL SELF-DEALING

Read the NY attorney general’s corruption lawsuit against the Trump Foundation

“For more than a decade, the Donald J. Trump foundation has operated in persistent violation of state and federal law governing New York State charities.”

So begins a petition filed today (June 14) by New York’s attorney general, announcing a new lawsuit against the Trump Foundation, a not-for-profit founded by the US president.

You can read the petition in full below. Here are just a few of the allegations it makes, based on investigations by the attorney general’s office:

  • Trump Foundation funds were illegally used to: pay off Trump’s legal obligations; promote Trump hotels and other businesses; and purchase personal items.
  • The Trump Foundation “illegally provided extensive support to his 2016 presidential campaign.”
  • The foundation raised “in excess of $2.8 million in a manner designed to influence the 2016 presidential election at the direction and under the control of senior leadership of the Trump presidential campaign.”
  • One example: A Trump fundraiser in Iowa saw large donations to the Trump Foundation—but it was organized and directed by Trump’s presidential campaign. Brad Parscale, the campaign’s digital media director, created the Iowa fundraiser event website. Hope Hicks organized the speakers. Trump used the charitable donations for campaign trail stunts, performing giveaways of $100,000—complete with those huge lottery checks—at subsequent rallies.
  • The foundation also “entered into at least five self-dealing transactions that were unlawful because they benefited Mr. Trump or businesses he controls.”
  • In one case, it paid $158,000 to settle claims against the Trump National Golf Club
  • The foundation had no conflict of interest policy, as required by the state.

The allegations go beyond the president, implicating his children and others in his inner circle. The petition says, for example, that the foundation’s directors—including Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr.—”failed to meet basic fiduciary duties and abdicated all responsibility for ensuring that the foundation’s assets were used in compliance with the law.” Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, decided where and how to dispense of Trump Foundation dollars.

“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 the attorney general, Barbara Underwood.

Trump responded this morning to the allegations using his typical medium, Twitter, declaring, “I won’t settle this case!”

Read the full petition here:

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