AG: Trump Foun­da­tion must stop fundrais­ing in NY

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Michael Virtanen

ALBANY >> The New York at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice has or­dered Don­ald Trump’s char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion to im­me­di­ately stop fundrais­ing in the state, say­ing it isn’t reg­is­tered to do so.

The head of the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s Char­i­ties Bureau, James Sheehan, wrote in a let­ter to a lawyer for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee’s foun­da­tion that the fail­ure to stop im­me­di­ately and an­swer de­mands for all delin­quent fi­nan­cial re­ports within 15 days “shall be deemed a con­tin­u­ing fraud upon the peo­ple of the state of New York.” The let­ter was dated and sent Fri­day.

Demo­cratic At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Don­ald J. Trump Foun­da­tion fol­low­ing Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports that foun­da­tion spend­ing per­son­ally ben­e­fited the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. The news­pa­per, cit­ing tax records, also re­ported that the char­ity has been funded en­tirely from out­side do­na­tions since 2008, when the can­di­date made his last con­tri­bu­tion to it.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice said the Trump Foun­da­tion had a reg­is­tra­tion for an or­ga­ni­za­tion with as­sets in New York but the law re­quires a dif­fer­ent reg­is­tra­tion for those that so­licit more than $25,000 a year from the pub­lic.

“Based on in­for­ma­tion re­ceived by the Char­i­ties Bureau to date, the Trump Foun­da­tion was en­gaged in so­lic­i­ta­tion or fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in New York State in 2016 and was not reg­is­tered with the Char­i­ties Bureau pur­suant to Ar­ti­cle 7-A, and thus was not per­mit­ted to en­gage in such ac­tiv­ity dur­ing this pe­riod,” Sheehan wrote.

The Trump cam­paign has said the foun­da­tion in­tends to co­op­er­ate with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The cam­paign pre­vi­ously called Sch­nei­der­man “a par­ti­san hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion for years and has en­dorsed Hil­lary Clin­ton for pres­i­dent.”

“While we re­main very con­cerned about the po­lit­i­cal mo­tives be­hind A.G. Sch­nei­der­man’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the Trump Foun­da­tion nev­er­the­less in­tends to co­op­er­ate fully with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Trump cam­paign spokes­woman Hope Hicks said Mon­day.

In Septem­ber in­ter­views, Sch­nei­der­man told Politico that in June his of­fice had com­mu­ni­cated with foun­da­tion lawyers about what ap­peared to be an un­law­ful cam­paign con­tri­bu­tion and didn’t make a pub­lic fuss about it and hold a press con­fer­ence.

“If I’m a traf­fic cop, but I’m a Demo­crat, and (Trump) speeds by me, I have to give him a ticket. It’s that sim­ple. Char­i­ties have to fol­low the rules,” Sch­nei­der­man told “CBS This Morn­ing.”

His spokesman Eric Soufer said Mon­day, “The At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice is the sole reg­u­la­tor of char­i­ties in New York State, and when ev­i­dence of clear mis­con­duct is brought to our at­ten­tion, we take ac­tion.”

EVAN VUCCI — AP PHOTO

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a town hall with the Re­tired Amer­i­can War­riors

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