The Trump Foundation—the president's philanthropic organization, which he allegedly treated more like a personal pocketbook than a charity—will dissolve pursuant an agreement signed by the Foundation's attorney. It must now dismantle itself under a judge's watchful eye, with review and approval from the New York Attorney General's office.
"Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation—including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more," A.G. Barbara underwood said in a statement on Tuesday. "This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump's business and political interests."
Underwood's office has been investigating the Trump Foundation's extremely shady operations, many of which the Washington Post outlined in a 2016 article. Although the president boasted about his incredibly generous philanthropic endeavors, his Foundation's spending seemed charitable only to its namesake. Donald Trump, according to the Post, donated $5.5 million to the charity (a practice that seems to have stopped in 2008) and accepted over $9 million from other sources. The Post contended that the money often went to self-serving causes: Trump reportedly used the Foundation's money to buy a $10,000 portrait of himself and hang it in one of his resorts; he spent $12,000 of Trump Foundation money on a helmet signed by former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow; he paid out over $260,000 to refurbish a fountain outside the Plaza Hotel.
In June, the A.G.'s office filed a lawsuit against the president in New York State Supreme Court, alleging that—in addition to using Foundation funds to his own financial benefit—Trump had also poured them into his presidential campaign. There was that political fundraiser for veterans Trump held in Iowa, in lieu of joining the other Republican candidates at a debate, which he used as a platform for his political agenda and which resulted in $2.8 million for the Foundation. Foundation money allegedly went toward settling the many legal complaints filed against Trump as well, another improper use of charitable donations.
The lawsuit asked millions in restitution, which the A.G. will redistribute to actual charities for real this time, as well as demanding the official blacklisting of Trump and his three oldest children (D.J., Jr., Eric, and Ivanka all sat on the sham of a Trump Foundation board) from serving on charitable boards from now until forever. The lawsuit itself has not been decided, so we'll still have to wait on those questions, but the Foundation itself has met its demise.
Though the Trump Foundation has agreed to cease to exist, the AG's suit has yet to resolve the question of whether there will be penalties for mixing politics, business, and the foundation, and whether Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric and DJT will be banned for ten years from charity boards https://t.co/g9eunas3DJ
— Andrea Bernstein (@AndreaWNYC) December 18, 2018
And with that in mind, I'd like to direct your attention to this very Presidential tweet from June, which has aged well:
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!...
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018