U.S. Politics

NY attorney general launches Trump Foundation inquiry

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THE HILL

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating Donald Trump‘s foundation to see whether it’s complying with the state’s charity laws.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is coming under increasing media pressure for misreporting a number of donations and using its money in a questionable fashion.

A source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill that the New York AG’s office has “opened an inquiry into troubling transactions with the Trump Foundation that have recently come into light.”

Schneiderman told CNN’s “The Lead” on Tuesday evening that his interest in Trump’s foundation connects with his role “as regulator of nonprofits in New York state.”

“We have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view,” Schneiderman said.

“We’ve inquired into it and we’ve had correspondence with them. I didn’t make a big deal out of it or hold a press conference,” he added. “We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it’s complying with the laws governing charities in New York.”

NBC News reported correspondence between the New York AG’s office and the foundation began on June 9 of this year.

Schneiderman made an enemy of Trump when he began aggressively pursuing fraud allegations against Trump University. He launched an investigation into the operation in 2013.

Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller released a statement Tuesday, calling Schneiderman “a partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president,” according to NBC.

He also said the inquiry into Trump’s foundation was a “left-wing hit job.”

The New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau has reportedly questioned a $25,000 donation the foundation made to “And Justice for All” in September 2013. “And Justice for All” is a political group which has a connection for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, according to NBC News.

Around that time, Bondi was deciding whether to join the multi-state Trump University investigation, but ultimately declined. That’s caused many to question the foundation’s actions, with a group of Democrats asking the Department of Justice on Tuesday to dig deeper.

For not disclosing the gift to the IRS, Trump paid a $2,500 penalty. Trump also paid back $25,000 to the foundation after people in the media started questioning the donation, NBC reported.

The attorney general reportedly also raised questions about the foundation paying $20,000 for a six-foot tall portrait of Trump, according to NBC.

Yahoo News reported last week that Trump’s nonprofit donated $100,000 to a conservative group that was suing Schneiderman as he was investigating the real estate education venture.

President Obama sharpened the national focus on Trump’s foundation when he made a mockery of the charity in a Tuesday campaign speech on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

Obama highlighted a detail revealed in Washington Post story last week: that Trump reportedly used foundation money to buy a 6-foot portrait of himself.

By Jonathan Swan

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