New York Attorney General sent a letter on Monday to the Donald J. Trump Foundation to halt operations until it discloses missing financial reports.
In a press release, the Attorney General’s office announced it notified the Trump Foundation that it needed to stop soliciting money until the foundation submitted its mandatory financial reports and audits. According to Monday’s release, the foundation solicited contributions without having submitted the documents, a violation of state laws.
In a statement reported by NBC’s Katy Tur, campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks said the foundation would comply, but suggested that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s letter to the Trump foundation may be politically motivated.
As the Washington Post reported last month, the Trump Foundation never got the proper certification to operate a charity in New York raising over $25,000.
For his part, the attorney general is also examining whether the real-estate magnate violated any laws when he used charitable funds for non-charitable purposes such as making political gifts. CNN reported that Schneiderman’s office over the past four months has been looking into the foundation’s practices following revelations that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi declined to investigate Trump University almost immediately after the foundation donated to her 2013 campaign.
The Trump campaign has repeatedly attempted to delegitimize Schneiderman’s investigation. Last month, Trump spokesman Jason Miller labeled Schneiderman a “a partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton.”
President Donald Trump is dissolving his charitable foundation nearly a year after it admitted to violating federal rules on “self-dealing,” according to newly-filed tax documents.
Internal Revenue Service documents filed this month and obtained by NBC Newsconfirm Trump is making good on his promise from last December to shutter the Donald J. Trump Foundation in light of scrutiny over potential conflict of interest.
“The foundation announced its intent to dissolve and is seeking approval to distribute its remaining funds” to other charities, according to the IRS filing, which was uploaded to charity watchdog website Guidestar.org by the foundation.
In October 2016, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ordered the foundation to halt its solicitation of charitable donations in the state. Now, a spokesperson from the foundation says that it is working with Schneiderman’s office in order to facilitate the foundation’s closing.
“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,” the spokesperson told NBC. “The Foundation looks forward to distributing its remaining assets at the earliest possible time to aid numerous worthy charitable organizations.”
The foundation had about $970,000 in assets at the end of 2016, the documents show, according to NBC. The attorney general’s press secretary, Amy Spitalnick, told the outlet that the foundation legally cannot close yet since it is “still under investigation by this office.”
Tax records dating back to 2015 show that the foundation has violated the IRS’ provisions on self-dealing, which bars nonprofits from funneling charity funds to its leaders, their businesses, or their families.
Trump himself acknowledged the violation, saying in a December 2016 statement: “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. 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.”
It remains unclear how Trump will seek to continue his charitable interests in the “other ways” he mentioned last year.