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New York attorney general sues Trump family for ‘illegal conduct’ related to charities

According to a lawsuit filed this Thursday by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood against President Trump, the Donald J. Trump Foundation and members of the Trump family violated federal and state law and illegally used the charity to help the Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The lawsuit claims that Trump used the foundation to bolster his campaign, and that the charity made an illegal in-kind donation of more than $2.8 million to his campaign, The Hill reports.

It also alleges that Trump improperly used the foundation to benefit his properties and businesses.

“For more than a decade, the Donald J. Trump Foundation has operated in persistent violation of state and federal law governing New York State charities,” the complaint reads.

“This pattern of illegal conduct by the Foundation and its board members includes improper and extensive political activity, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions, and failure to follow basic fiduciary obligations or to implement event elementary corporate formalities required by law.”

The complaint seeks to dissolve the Foundation and block the Trump family form performing charity work in the state of New York.

The lawsuit also requires Trump pay “up to double the amount of benefits improperly obtained through self-dealing transactions” made after July 1, 2014 and that the Trump family members “make full restitution for waste and misuse of charitable assets, and to pay demanders resulting from the breach of fiduciary duties.”

Trump lashed out at the lawsuits in a series of tweets this Thursday, calling it “ridiculous.”

“The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!” Trump tweeted, adding, “Schneiderman, who ran the Clinton campaign in New York, never had the guts to bring this ridiculous case, which lingered in their office for almost 2 years. Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle.”

From The Hill:

The complaint largely focuses on an Iowa event President Trump held in lieu of participating in a presidential debate in 2016. Then-candidate Donald Trump held a rally to fundraise for veterans groups in January 2016, but faced scrutiny from the media over whether he donated the funds.

President Trump announced the gifts to the charitable organizations four months later.

The lawsuit alleges that President Trump’s campaign “extensively directed and coordinated the Foundation’s activities in connection” with the event.

The complaint states that the foundation assisted the campaign in organizing the event and was widely utilized in promoting it, but that the charity was used “to satisfy the campaign’s requirements.”

“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,” Attorney General Underwood said in a statement.

“This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the Foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”

Featured image via Flickr

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