New York's attorney general announced on Thursday she was suing the Trump Foundation, as well as Donald Trump and his children, alleging "extensive and persistent" lawbreaking.
President Donald Trump's charitable foundation has persistently broken state and federal laws with improper political activity, self-dealing and failing to follow basic fiduciary obligations, NY said in a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the organization.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, also names Trump's children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump because they have been board members of the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
"The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000", Trump wrote. Schneiderman ordered the foundation to stop fundraising in NY. Trump allegedly used the Donald J. Trump Foundation to pay off creditors, settle legal disputes for his businesses, and, in one case, buy a $10,000 portrait of himself.
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The lawsuit says the foundation illegally helped support the Republican's campaign by raising money at a nationally televised fundraiser in January 2016, then allowing campaign staffers to dictate how the money was spent in grants. She also asked that Trump be banned from heading any other nonprofits in NY for the next decade.
Underwood asserted in the suit, among other things, that the foundation "was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their objective or legality".
Nevertheless, as NY attorney general Ms Underwood has significant investigatory and prosecutorial power - and if she starts flushing the bushes of some of Mr Trump's more questionable charitable activities, there's no telling what she might turn up.
Foundation attorney Sheri Dillon and a Trump Organization spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment. The AG's office wants the foundation dissolved. Underwood also sent referral letters to the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission identifying possible violations of federal law for the departments to investigate.
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