NY A.G. Lawsuit Alleges Trump Acted In “Persistently Illegal Manner”
Disgraced former NY Attorney General may have been a sexual deviant which cost him his job, but his replacement, acting NY AG Barbara Underwood has been busy, and moments ago confirmed that in just a few weeks she collected enough allegations to launch what the NYT called a “scathingly-worded” lawsuit against president Trump, his family and the Trump foundation, accusing the charity and the Trump family of sweeping violations of New York campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.
The lawsuit also accuses defendants of making expenditures to influence the outcome of an election Attorney general accuses defendants of self-dealing, wasting charitable assets, or violating US Tax law. It seeks restitution of $2.8 million, penalties against the president, a ban on donald trump serving as an officer of a charity, and a declaration that the foundation conducted business in a ‘persistently illegal manner’ Lawsuit filed in the new york state supreme court in Manhattan.
The lawsuit, which seeks to dissolve the foundation and bar President Trump and three of his children from serving on nonprofit organizations, was an unprecedented rebuke of a sitting president. The attorney general also sent referral letters to the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission for possible further action, adding to Mr. Trump’s extensive legal problems.
As the petition further alleges, Trump used the Trump Foundation’s charitable assets to pay off his legal obligations, to promote Trump hotels and other businesses, and to purchase personal items. In addition, at Mr. Trump’s behest, the Trump Foundation illegally provided extensive support to his 2016 presidential campaign by using the Trump Foundation’s name and funds it raised from the public to promote his campaign for presidency, including in the days before the Iowa nominating caucuses.
“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.”
The Attorney General’s investigation allegedly found that Trump 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. The Foundation raised the funds from the public at the nationally televised fundraiser Mr. Trump held in lieu of participating in the presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 28, 2016. 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, as evidenced by communications between Campaign staff and Foundation representatives:
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.
As described in the Attorney General’s petition, none of the Foundation’s expenditures or activities were approved by its Board of Directors. The investigation found that the Board existed in name only: it did not meet after 1999; it did not set policy or criteria for choosing grant recipients; and it did not approve of any grants. Mr. Trump alone made all decisions related to the Foundation.