Thursday morning, the New York Attorney General petitioned to sue President Donald Trump and his three children for the illegal activity of the president’s charity, the Donald J Trump Foundation.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has accused the foundation of more than a decade of illegal conduct, claiming it “was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to non-profits, regardless of their purpose of legality.”
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Following a two year investigation into the foundation’s activities, Underwood also sent letters to both the IRS and the Federal Election Commission, citing “possible violations” of tax law and federal campaign law by Trump’s foundation.
The foundation has been accused of multiple charity-law violations including the misuse of funds to pay off legal suits, business creditors and support Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In her suit, Underwood references Trump’s 2007 settlement with the town of Palm Beach, Florida, over code violations at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Directed by the court to donate $100,000 to the Fischer Foundation, Trump withdrew the full sum from the foundation even though the case was entirely personal. Trump also used the foundation’s money to buy a $10,000 portrait of himself to hang at one of his golf clubs, even though personal purchases made with charity-funds are illegal.
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The lawsuit also names Trump’s three children as defendants. According to Underwood, as board members of the foundation, the children were “supposed to scrutinize spending for signs that its leader — in this case that was their father — was misusing the funds.” She claims that the children neglected this responsibility, as the board had not met since 1999.
The City of New York is now seeking $2.8 million of restitution plus penalties, a 10-year ban on Trump serving as a director of a New York nonprofit and one-year bans for each of his children, Eric, Donald Jr and Ivanka.
Trump has since rejected the claims, noting that he will refuse to settle.