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NY Attorney General Goes After Trump Foundation

The Donald J. Trump Foundation must halt all fundraising operations in New York, after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a cease and desist letter alleging violation of state charity registration rules.

The letter warns that the charity the Republican presidential nominee founded in the 80s has been collecting donations of over $25,000 annually, but has not filed the correct certification to do so, and therefore must cease fundraising immediately.

"The failure immediately to discontinue solicitation and to file information and reports required under Article 7-A with the Charities Bureau shall be deemed to be a continuing fraud upon the people of the state of New York," states the notice that was sent on Friday and which the attorney general's office shared online this week.

Trump has been aware of the issue since at least last month, when Schneiderman first began digging in to the foundation, after members of the press questioned the legalities themselves.

The Attorney General points out that the New York based charitable organization that was launched in 1988, "is in violation of section 172 of Article 7-A New York's Executive Law, which requires charitable organizations that solicit contributions in New York State to register with the Charities Bureau."

To rectify the matter Trump's group has been ordered to "provide annual financial reports and annual audited financial statements." The charity must "immediately cease soliciting contributions or engaging in other fundraising activities in New York," until such documentation has been provided.

Failure to respond to the instructions in the notice within 15 days will potentially lead to a number of legal ramifications, something Trump will not want circulating in the media during such an important time. Unsurprisingly the foundation has publicly expressed the intent to comply, but will not elaborate on why such a mistake was made and what their next move is.

"While we remain very concerned about the political motives behind AG Schneiderman's investigation, the Trump Foundation nevertheless intends to cooperate fully with the investigation," campaign press secretary Hope Hicks said in a statement. "Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time."

In total the foundation has raised $4.4 million since 2009, though Trump has not funded it himself since 2008. Pro wrestling juggernaut WWE and NBC Universal have been the charity's biggest donors over the past year. Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon of course had an unsuccessful run for US senate and has included Trump on the wrestling show at numerous points over the years, including a "battle of the billionaires" with husband and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Have their funds been misused, or perhaps used just as intended?

The investigation which was launched only a few weeks ago, suspected so called "impropriety" related to how the nonprofit was allocating its funding, not just a failure to file the correct paperwork. If true, one is essentially masking the other. As reported by the Washington Post at the time, it's alleged that a sum of $258,000 was illegally withdrawn from the charity to fund lawsuit's related to Trump's commercial business interests. This would be a bold violation of US tax law, and something a presidential candidate might have a tough time explaining away.

The irony is that Trump has pointed the finger at the Clinton Foundation on several occasions, calling it a "pay to play"operation that's agenda driven, not a true charitable organization. Perhaps the even bigger irony is that the Donald J. Trump Foundation itself donated $100,000 to Bill and Hillary's charity in 2009. So if it is a "pay to play" operation, he should know. He paid and played, and is probably doing the same himself.

Unfortunately this isn't the only tax related scandal brewing for Trump. Just this past Sunday it was reported by the New York Times that the presidential nominee may have avoided paying tax for almost twenty years!

The leaked tax documents reveal the Republican filed a Net Operating Loss of $916 million back in 1995 due to the failure of three Atlantic City casinos. This in theory could have allowed him to avoid paying any tax on federal income for up to 18 years legally. Of course critics will say legal doesn't mean ethical. But as we've learned in the wacky world of politics, don't be so quick to point fingers. Bill and Hillary Clinton's 2015 tax return used a similar loss carryover mechanism to get a $3,000 tax break, according to more leaked documents. Morally - both wrong perhaps, but there's a big difference in scale there.

In classic Trump fashion he simply downplayed and brushed aside the allegations, claiming the documents were illegally obtained and that it was pretty pathetic to dig up a 20 year old tax return that didn't even show anything illegal.

The charity registration faux pas however might just stick, as regulations do legitimately appear to have been violated. Democrat Schneiderman may have finally found something else that sticks after calling in to question numerous Trump operations in the past. He notoriously labelled the money making Trump University venture a "scam" and "a fraud from beginning to end."

The real estate training program that the attorney general sued for misleading marketing practices was forced to shut down. Does a similar fate await the Trump Foundation? The most likely outcome is that they quietly get the paperwork in order and chalk it up to more political mudslinging from a "partisan hack", but every negative headline has to have some impact on Trump's support.

Meanwhile Trump is already back in attack mode. He told a friendly crowd in Pueblo Colorado, that despite what is being reported "I'm working for you now, I'm not working for Trump."

He went on to say that Clinton has not "made an honest dollar in her life" and that she's involved in "corruption of the highest order."

But maybe one protests a bit too much. Donald Trump is still the only presidential nominee of the past 40 years to withhold all of his tax returns. Until he gets honest, how can we trust anything he says?

Posted by KeelanB at October 4, 2016 9:07 AM
Comments
Comment #408111

Interesting length and paragraph structure. Unless the NY AG actually arrests Drumpf before the election, I think it will be forgotten about after HRC45 wins. Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!

Posted by: oraoghaile at October 4, 2016 11:08 AM
Comment #408122

I thought Weary Willie said that we couldn’t assume this was going to happen?

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 4, 2016 1:45 PM
Comment #408152

On the casenos, remember, Drumpf’s father bought millions of dollars worth of chips, as another little help to his son’s business which he is never going to mention..
Washinton POST, January 29,1991

….at the age of 85, Fred is clearly much smarter than the people who run some of the nation’s biggest banks: He knows better than to lend money to his son. Fred gave Donald the equivalent of an interest-free loan by buying $3.5 million of chips from the Trump Castle casino-hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. According to an article in the Atlantic City Press, a lawyer representing Fred Trump showed up at the Castle on Dec. 17, deposited a $3.35 million certified check, bought 670 $5,000 chips at a high-stakes blackjack table, stuck the chips in a bag and left. The next day, Fred wired $150,000 to the casino and bought another 30 chips. Pretty slick. Because Donald knew that his father wouldn’t cash in the chips right away, he could use the extra $3.5 million in the till to help make the $18.4 million interest payment due on the bonds. Had he lent Donald $3.5 million, Fred would have had to get in line behind Donald’s numerous creditors, and he probably never would see a penny of his money again. This way, Donald got the money he needed, and Fred got chips that he could cash in any time the casino had money on hand to redeem them. He may have cashed in some or all of them by now. Casino regulators are yelling and screaming, but they will probably do nothing but make noise. But think. This deal has ramifications far beyond just finding a way for Fred to sneak money to his kid. Without knowing it, Donald and Fred Trump have transformed chips from a gambling device into currency.

Posted by: oraoghaile at October 4, 2016 5:35 PM
Comment #408153

On the casenos, remember, Drumpf’s father bought millions of dollars worth of chips, as another little help to his son’s business which he is never going to mention..
Washinton POST, January 29,1991

….at the age of 85, Fred is clearly much smarter than the people who run some of the nation’s biggest banks: He knows better than to lend money to his son. Fred gave Donald the equivalent of an interest-free loan by buying $3.5 million of chips from the Trump Castle caseno-hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. According to an article in the Atlantic City Press, a lawyer representing Fred Trump showed up at the Castle on Dec. 17, deposited a $3.35 million certified check, bought 670 $5,000 chips at a high-stakes blackjack table, stuck the chips in a bag and left. The next day, Fred wired $150,000 to the caseno and bought another 30 chips. Pretty slick. Because Donald knew that his father wouldn’t cash in the chips right away, he could use the extra $3.5 million in the till to help make the $18.4 million interest payment due on the bonds. Had he lent Donald $3.5 million, Fred would have had to get in line behind Donald’s numerous creditors, and he probably never would see a penny of his money again. This way, Donald got the money he needed, and Fred got chips that he could cash in any time the caseno had money on hand to redeem them. He may have cashed in some or all of them by now. Caseno regulators are yelling and screaming, but they will probably do nothing but make noise. But think. This deal has ramifications far beyond just finding a way for Fred to sneak money to his kid. Without knowing it, Donald and Fred Trump have transformed chips from a gambling device into currency.

Posted by: oraoghaile at October 4, 2016 5:36 PM
Comment #408163

Oh Gawd! Do I have to read all that?

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 4, 2016 10:47 PM
Comment #408164

Is this about the donations dating back 25 years and only now are considered illegal?

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 4, 2016 10:50 PM
Comment #408165

Illegal via; a law that is enforced when it’s politically expedient to do so?

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 4, 2016 10:52 PM
Comment #408166

I just watched an episode of “The Knick”. The head of the hospital had to go to Tammany Hall to “explain himself”.

Or something like that. Refresh my memory about how the 17th amendment was the salve that cured the ills of our pathetic founding father’s invention.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 4, 2016 11:06 PM
Comment #408167
Is this about the donations dating back 25 years and only now are considered illegal?

It’s about the Trump Foundation’s flagrant disregard for NYS law requiring a charity register if it solicits more than 25,000 dollars in a year.

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 4, 2016 11:44 PM
Comment #408179
launched in 1988
The investigation which was launched only a few weeks ago


aware of the issue since at least last month,


Schneiderman first began digging in to the foundation, after members of the press questioned the legalities themselves.


the foundation has publicly expressed the intent to comply

A foundation that’s been collecting money and supporting charitable causes for over a quarter of a century and it just now came to light, by coincidence, in the middle of a campaign?!


He paid and played, and is probably doing the same himself.

Prove it! Show us where Trump went to the Clinton Foundation and paid to play! Ha!

tax related scandal brewing for Trump. Just this past Sunday it was reported by the New York Times that the presidential nominee may have avoided paying tax for almost twenty years

Warren Porter, didn’t you say this shouldn’t be mixed with the “illegal”?

a 20 year old tax return that didn’t even show anything illegal
faux pas however might just stick


Yea, it will stick with reporters who will never let it go.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 5, 2016 1:35 PM
Comment #408180
didn’t you say this shouldn’t be mixed with the “illegal”?

Yeah. I disagree with KeelanB’s decision to write about both scandals simultaneously. The tax issue is entirely speculation while the Trump Foundation Scandal is already documented and proven.

Prove it! Show us where Trump went to the Clinton Foundation and paid to play! Ha!

In violation of laws prohibiting self-dealing, Trump directed funds from his foundation to organizations in South Carolina that serve significant roles during the GOP’s “Insider Primary”. In short, Trump had to pay up before he was endorsed by particular people.

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 5, 2016 3:57 PM
Comment #408200

Clarification about Drumpf’s tax forms from CT,NJ, and NY. The NYT was not the only one that received them, they were just the only ones that managed to verify them by tracking down Jack Mitnick in FL, Fred and Donald’s accountant for 30 years. Mitnick has no reason from his experience to believe that Drumpf knows anything about the tax code.

Posted by: oraoghaile at October 5, 2016 6:46 PM
Comment #408204
The NYT was not the only one that received them

Do you have a source for this?

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 5, 2016 8:19 PM
Comment #408205
Do you have a source for this? Posted by: Warren Porter at October 5, 2016 8:19 PM
Cynthia McFadden,formerly of Nightline, now NBC News senior legal and investigative correspondent. Whoever else got the documents didn’t want to risk being sued. These pages were probably released by the NYT specifically because they’re state documents, not IRS documents, as you mentioned before. Mitnick also mentioned that Ivana was much more interested in his tax work than Donald ever was, although Donald was married to Marla at the time covered by the billion dollar loss. Posted by: oraoghaile at October 5, 2016 9:03 PM
Comment #408217

Thanks. Here is the relevant video for anyone else who is curious.

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 5, 2016 11:37 PM
Comment #408248

debt parking

From the Weekly Standard:

The dummy party might be his wife or children or some company or trust set up by them or more likely some completely opaque offshore trust. And that dummy party goes and buys the debt for say 1.1 cents in the dollar. Then they just sit there.They don’t force the debtor to repay. They don’t make a profit or loss on the debt. And because the debtor never has his debt forgiven he never gets the assessment on debt forgiveness and he gets to keep his Net Operating Loss even though the losses did not come out of his pocket.
Posted by: oraoghaile at October 6, 2016 11:12 PM
Comment #408253

There are a lot of speculative stories floating around regarding Trump’s taxes, but nobody really knows any facts. Personally, I would keep the focus on his foundation which was clearly a corrupt organization.

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 7, 2016 8:58 AM
Comment #408262

Prove it.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 7, 2016 2:28 PM
Comment #408266

I wrote an entire article about the Trump Foundation, did you forget?

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 7, 2016 5:00 PM
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