N.Y. curbs Trump Foun­da­tion

Atty. Gen. halts fundrais­ing, says ap­proval needed

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By David A. Fahrenthold

The New York at­tor­ney gen­eral dis­closed Mon­day that it or­dered Don­ald Trump’s per­sonal char­ity to cease fundrais­ing im­me­di­ately af­ter de­ter­min­ing that the foun­da­tion was vi­o­lat­ing state law by so­lic­it­ing do­na­tions with­out proper au­tho­riza­tion.

The mes­sage was con­veyed in a “no­tice of vi­o­la­tion” sent Fri­day to the Don­ald J. Trump Foun­da­tion, of which Trump is pres­i­dent.

The night be­fore, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported that Trump’s foun­da­tion — which has sub­sisted en­tirely on other peo­ple’s do­na­tions since 2008 — had failed to reg­is­ter with the state as a char­ity so­lic­it­ing money.

Be­cause of that, Trump’s foun­da­tion had avoided rig­or­ous an­nual au­dits that New York state re­quires of char­i­ties that seek the pub­lic’s money. Those au­dits would have asked, among other things, if the foun­da­tion’s money had been used to ben­e­fit Trump or one of his busi­nesses.

“The Trump Foun­da­tion must im­me­di­ately cease so­lic­it­ing con­tri­bu­tions or en­gag­ing in any other fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in New York,” wrote James G. Shee­han, the head of the char­i­ties bu­reau in the of­fice of At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man, a Demo­crat.

In ad­di­tion, Shee­han wrote, the Trump Founda- At a Mon­day rally in Colorado, Don­ald Trump re­sponded to a New York Times re­port last week­end on his 1995 tax re­turn. tion was or­dered to sup­ply the state with all the legal pa­per­work nec­es­sary to reg­is­ter as a char­ity that so­lic­its money within 15 days.

Trump cam­paign spokes­woman Hope Hicks re­sponded in a writ­ten state­ment: “While we re­main very con­cerned about the po­lit­i­cal mo­tives be­hind AG Sch­nei­der­man’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the Trump Foun­da­tion nev­er­the­less in­tends to co­op­er­ate fully with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Be­cause this is an on­go­ing legal mat­ter, the Trump Foun­da­tion will not com­ment fur­ther at this time.”

Sch­nei­der­man has en­dorsed Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton, Trump’s ri­val in the pres­i­den­tial race.

Last month, his of­fice launched a broader probe of the Trump Foun­da­tion af­ter sto­ries in The Post iden­ti­fied cases in which Trump ap­peared to have used the char­ity’s money to buy por­traits of him­self and to set­tle law­suits in­volv­ing his for­profit busi­nesses.

Legal experts said the move to sus­pend the Trump Foun­da­tion’s abil­ity to raise money is a com­mon re­ac­tion in cases in which a char­ity has so­licited funds with­out au­tho­riza­tion.

Also Mon­day, Trump launched an ag­gres­sive de­fense of a mas­sive busi­ness loss in the 1990s that would have en­abled him to skip pay­ing fed­eral in­come taxes for 18 years, while also wad­ing into a new con­tro­versy by sug­gest­ing that soldiers and vet­er­ans with men­tal health prob­lems are not strong and “can’t han­dle it.”

“When peo­ple come back from war and com­bat, and they see things that maybe a lot of folks in this room have seen many times over — and you’re strong and you can han­dle it — but a lot of peo­ple can’t han­dle it,” Trump said at a Mon­day morn­ing town-hall event with vet­er­ans in north­ern Vir­ginia.

Trump was speak­ing at an event or­ga­nized by the Re­tired Amer­i­can War­riors po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee Mon­day when he was asked about his com­mit­ment to f aith- based pro­grams aimed at pre­vent­ing sui­cides and help­ing troops suf­fer­ing from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, trau­matic brain in­jury and other is­sues.

Re­tired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a top Trump ad­viser, in a state­ment ac­cused the me­dia of tak­ing the GOP nom­i­nee’s words out of con­text “to de­ceive vot­ers and vet­er­ans.”

At an af­ter­noon rally later in Colorado, the GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee re­sponded to a New York Times re­port last week­end on his 1995 tax re­turn show­ing a $916 mil­lion loss that would have al­lowed him to pay zero fed­eral in­comes taxes for 18 years.

Trump said he “bril­liantly used” tax laws to his ad­van­tage and bounced back from the loss while oth­ers in his field fell flat in the 1990s. Trump said that he has a “fidu­ciary re­spon­si­bil­ity” to “pay as lit­tle tax as legally pos­si­ble” — although these were his per­sonal taxes — and that the po­lit­i­cal class should be blamed for cre­at­ing a “com­plex” and “un­fair” tax sys­tem.

Clin­ton f ocused on Trump’s 1995 tax re­turn dur­ing a cam­paign stop in Toledo, Ohio, on Mon­day af­ter­noon, sharply crit­i­ciz­ing him for los­ing money and pock­et­ing tax sav­ings while or­di­nary Amer­i­cans pay their fair share.

“What kind of ge­nius loses a bil­lion dol­lars in a sin­gle year?” Clin­ton asked a crowd, re­fer­ring to ar­gu­ments from Trump sur­ro­gates that the tax records proved Trump was a “ge­nius.”

THEO STROOMER/GETTY

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