N.Y. ATTORNEY GENERAL FILES SUIT AGAINST TRUMP
Albany, N.Y. — A bombshell civil lawsuit filed Thursday by New York state Attorney General Barbara Underwood against President Trump, his kids and their nonprofit foundation alleges improper coordination between the charity and the president’s 2016 campaign.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan state Supreme Court on Trump’s 72nd birthday, also said the charity was used to help pay for Trump’s political, personal and business dealings.
“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,” Underwood said.
New York — New York’s attorney general sued President Donald Trump and his foundation Thursday, accusing him of illegally using the charity’s money to settle disputes involving his business empire and to boost his political fortunes during his run for the White House.
The president called the case “ridiculous.”
The lawsuit against Trump and the foundation directors — his children Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka — seeks $2.8 million in restitution, additional unspecified penalties and the dissolution of the foundation, which Trump had already pledged to dismantle.
The attorney general’s office detailed what it said was a closely coordinated effort by Trump’s campaign and the foundation to burnish his political image by giving out big grants of other people’s money to veterans’ organizations during the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, the first presidential nominating contest of 2016.
“The foundation’s grants made Mr. Trump and the campaign look charitable and increased the candidate’s profile to Republican primary voters and among important constituent groups,” Democratic Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s lawsuit said.
It accused the foundation of “improper and extensive political activity, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions, and failure to follow basic fiduciary obligations.”
Underwood referred her findings to the IRS and the Federal Election Commission for possible further action. IRS and FEC representatives declined to comment.
The Trump Foundation’s mission says its funds are to be used “exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational purposes,” according to the lawsuit.
In exchange for tax-exempt status, charities are required to follow rules that include a strict prohibition against involvement in political campaigns.
In tweets, Trump vowed: “I won’t settle this case!”