Donald Trump’s very bad week somehow got worse on Monday, when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that the office had filed a cease-and-desist letter against the Trump Foundation, demanding they stop soliciting contributions until they obtain proper permits and file paperwork detailing the organization’s past financial dealings.
The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold has been reporting on the Trump Foundation’s suspect practices for months, uncovering improper payments by the Foundation to settle Trump’s personal legal disputes, extravagant purchases like a $20,000 portrait of himself, and how Trump has refused to give any of his own money to charitable causes. In an article last week, Fahrenthold disclosed that the Trump Foundation has been fundraising in New York without proper authorization to do so.
The New York Attorney General’s office has opened multiple inquiries into Trump’s vast network of shady business dealings, including a separate investigation into the Trump Foundation for questionable spending practices and a lawsuit against Trump University, a money-making scheme disguised as a business training program. The Trump Foundation has already been fined by the IRS this year for making an illegal $25,000 contribution to a campaign group associated with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who at the time was weighing a similar investigation into Trump University. That investigation was dropped following the donation.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks issued a statement attacking Schneiderman as a partisan hack, but also suggested the Foundation would cooperate with the order. “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,” she said. “Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time.”