Lawsuits

New York Attorney General: Trump illegally used his charity for political gain and must pay $8.4 million

According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, President Donald Trump illegally used his personal charity to benefit his 2016 presidential campaign and must pay a total of $8.4 million in restitution.

The charge was made by James in a court filing this Thursday, Bloomberg reports.

James says that the Trump Foundation failed to put the proper mechanisms in place to protect the money it received as donations and did nothing to prevent against improper use of the funds.

The 37-page filing also says that the Trump family has not offered any evidence to refute the accusations.

“In this vacuum of oversight and diligence, Mr. Trump caused the foundation to enter repeatedly into self-dealing transactions and to coordinate unlawfully with his presidential campaign,” James told the New York State Supreme Court.

The New York Daily News reports that James said evidence of illegal coordination between Trump’s charity and his campaign includes statements and emails Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg exchanged with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

One email cited by the Daily News, a Trump executive asks Lewandowski how money from the charity should be used.

“Do you have a list of which veterans charities you want these funds sent to and how much for each charity??” Trump Org. Vice President Jeffrey McConney wrote to Lewandowski in February of 2016. “Lastly, how much longer do you want to keep the TrumpforVets website up and running?”

According to one lawsuit against the Trump Foundation, Trump used $100,000 in charity money to settle a dispute over an 80-foot flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, instead of paying the expense out of his own pocket.

As Bloomberg points out, a judge is currently considering a request from the state to ban Trump from serving in a non-profit organization in New York for 10 years. The request also asks that his children be banned for one year.

Trump has agreed to disband his foundation and allow James to decide how the remaining funds will be distributed.

Featured image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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