Election 2016

New York AG Orders the Trump Foundation to Stop Fundraising

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Recent reporting by David Fahrenholtd at the Washington Post has finally caught up with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Fahrenholdt reported last week that Trump's foundation isn't even registered to accept donations and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has now ordered the foundation to cease and desist.

James Sheehan, head of the attorney general’s charities bureau, sent the “notice of violation” to the Donald J. Trump Foundation on Friday, according to a copy of the notice provided by the press office of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D). [...]

According to tax records, Trump’s foundation has subsisted entirely on donations from others since 2008, when Trump gave his last personal donation. This year, the Trump Foundation made its most wide-ranging request for donations yet: It set up a public website, donaldtrumpforvets.com, to gather donations that Trump said would be passed on to veterans’ groups.

Trump's foundation has been entirely dependent on donations since 2008 but, as far as we know, it has never been registered to accept donations. The foundation was funded primarily by Trump himself when it was first created in 1988, but it was not registered to accept donations from others when he personally stopped donating to it.

Because the foundation was never registered to accept donations, it has never been audited.

This is only the beginning.

Trump is still the president of his foundation and it operates out of Trump Tower where his campaign headquarters is also located. Trump's campaign has responded by casting doubt on the possible "political motivations" of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

  • Michael B. Conway

    Trump has always depended on the kindness of strangers.

  • gescove

    To borrow a phrase from the Republicans: “Lock him up!”

  • muselet

    That sound you hear is Donald Trump’s gaudy little showboat of an empire taking on water.

    I fully expect James Sheehan to be on the receiving end of a Donald Trump tweetstorm by the end of the day, if he hasn’t started already, and it’s better than even money Trump will accuse Eric Schneiderman and James Sheehan of appearing in a porno together. That would be consistent with recent examples of his self-proclaimed “winning temperament,” after all.

    (Ashby, a minor point: the Donald J. Trump Foundation has never been registered by New York to solicit donations. There has never been an issue with it accepting unsolicited donations. As I say, it’s a minor point, since there is evidence that Donald Trump *ahem* suggested people donate to the foundation instead of giving him money—he solicited donations, in other words.)


    • JMAshby

      There has never been an issue with it accepting unsolicited donations.

      The AG’s press release says the foundation must stop soliciting donations. If there is such a thing as an unsolicited donation to the Trump foundation, I haven’t seen it. Trump and his family, according to their words, have actually gone out of their way to redirect funds to the foundation.

      The actual notice of violations released by the AG’s office says the foundation must “cease soliciting contributions or engaging in any other fundraising activities” and must “notify any third parties” raising money on the foundation’s behalf to stop.

      I think this is a distinction without a difference, even if the legalese are more precise.

      Here’s the notice: https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/trump_foundation_notice_of_violation_9-30-16.pdf

      What should really worry them is the requirement to submit paperwork for any previous year the foundation raised money without being registered. That’s a lot of years.

      • muselet

        If all the of the suckers kind and generous people who donated to the Trump Foundation did so of their own free will and without anyone from the Trump Foundation or family saying word one, then the Foundation would be free and clear, legally. However, that’s clearly not the case, which is why the NY AG’s office is about to jump on the Foundation from a great height.

        (I did say it was a minor point.)

        And I’m with you: whoever has to fill out the requisite forms for all those years has a job of work ahead.