President Trump, who agreed on Tuesday to dissolve his private foundation under pressure from the New York State attorney general, on Wednesday took to Twitter to blame Democrats for the organization’s problems.
“The Trump Foundation has done great work and given away lots of money, both mine and others, to great charities over the years — with me taking NO fees, rent, salaries etc,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “Now, as usual, I am getting slammed by Cuomo and the Dems in a long running civil lawsuit started by sleazebag AG Eric Schneiderman, who has since resigned over horrific women abuse, when I wanted to close the Foundation so as not to be in conflict with politics.”
“Shady Eric was head of New Yorkers for Clinton, and refused to even look at the corrupt Clinton Foundation,” the president continued.
“In any event, it goes on and on & the new AG, who is now being replaced by yet another AG (who openly campaigned on a GET TRUMP agenda), does little else but rant, rave & politic against me,” Trump added. “Will never be treated fairly by these people — a total double standard of ’justice.’”
Schneiderman, a Democrat, began investigating the foundation in 2016 after the Washington Post reported that some of its spending personally benefited Trump. Schneiderman resigned in May amid allegations that he abused women.
Schneiderman’s temporary replacement, Barbara Underwood, filed a formal suit against the Trump Foundation in June. Letitia “Tish” James, who was elected attorney general in November, has vowed to continue scrutiny of Trump’s businesses when she takes office on Jan. 1. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not involved in the case, despite Trump’s tweet.
The suit alleged the Trump Foundation was “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”
In 2016, the Washington Post reported that Trump used his foundation’s funds to “settle legal disputes involving Trump’s for-profit companies and to buy two large portraits of himself.” Trump paid a total of $30,000 for the portraits using foundation money. (Donations to a foundation are tax-deductible, so it’s illegal to spend them on yourself.)
The Post also reported that Trump used the charity’s money to make a $25,000 political donation to Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi, but failed to report it to the Internal Revenue Service.
The foundation had sought to dissolve itself on its own terms. But in a statement Tuesday, Underwood said that Trump’s charity agreed to do so under judicial supervision.
As part of the agreement, the foundation’s remaining $1.75 million and additional assets will be liquidated and given to other charities at the discretion of Underwood and a state judge, according to the Washington Post. (Among those assets: a Denver Broncos helmet autographed by Tim Tebow that Trump bought for $12,000 at a 2012 auction using Trump Foundation funds.)
But Underwood also said the state will move forward with its lawsuit “to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”
She is seeking $2.8 million in restitution, and a stipulation that Trump and his children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, who served on the foundation’s board — be prohibited from serving on the board of any charity for 10 years.
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