Trump Shutting Down Controversial Family Charity

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President Donald Trump's charitable foundation is reportedly being dissolved, fulfilling his campaign promise to shutter the organization. The foundation cannot fully turn off the lights yet because it is being investigated by New York state.

On Nov. 20, the 2016 IRS tax filing of the Donald J. Trump Foundation disclosed that the charity had initiated the process of dissolving. The foundation had assets of $970,000 by the end of 2016 and was awaiting approval from the office of state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York to distribute those remaining assets, NBC News reports.

"The Foundation continues to cooperate with the New York Attorney General's Charities Division, and as previously announced by the President, his advisers are working with the Charities Division to wind up the affairs of the Foundation," a Trump Foundation spokesperson said in a statement.

"The Foundation looks forward to distributing its remaining assets at the earliest possible time to aid numerous worthy charitable organizations," the spokesperson added.

Schneiderman's press secretary, Amy Spitalnick, noted that the Trump Foundation could not fully dissolve until the state investigation into its activities had concluded.

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"As the foundation is still under investigation by this office, it cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," Spitalnick said.

In October 2016, Schneiderman's office ordered the Trump Foundation to cease any further fundraising in New York, stating that the charity was not registered to solicit donations within the state.

James Sheehan, the chief of Schneiderman's charities bureau, wrote a letter to the foundation stating that it would violate state law if it continued fundraising.

"The failure immediately to discontinue solicitation and to file information and reports shall be deemed a fraud up the people of the state of New York," Sheehan wrote, according to The New York Times.

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In November 2016, the Trump administration disclosed in its 2015 tax filing that it had violated federal laws against self-dealing. While Trump had not donated to the charity since 2008, he had drawn money from it for personal uses. The IRS filing did not list any specific instances of self-dealing, The Washington Post reports.

Trump had reportedly used $300,000 in charitable donations to his foundation to help settle lawsuits for his private businesses or to purchase items at charity auctions. In one instance, Trump allegedly spent $20,000 of the foundation's funds to purchase a portrait of himself.

In December 2016, Trump announced that he would dissolve his foundation to avoid conflicts of interest while he served as president.

"The Foundation has done enormous good works over the years in contributing millions of dollars to countless worthy groups, including supporting veterans, law enforcement officers and children," Trump said in a statement. "However, to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as President I have decided to continue to pursue my strong interest in philanthropy in other ways."

The Trump Foundation raised $2.9 million and donated $3 million in 2016. During that year's presidential race, the charity made more donations than it had from 2012 through 2015 combined.

Sources: NBC News, The New York Times (2), The Washington Post / Featured Image: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr / Embedded Images: CBS This Morning/YouTube, Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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