Trump Foundation under investigation by New York attorney general

“We have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety,” AG Schneiderman said.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman CREDIT: MSNBC SCREENSHOT
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman CREDIT: MSNBC SCREENSHOT

The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened a multi-pronged investigation into the Trump Foundation.

On Tuesday, Schneiderman told CNN’s Jake Tapper that his “interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of nonprofits in New York state. And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view.”

“We’ve inquired into it, and we’ve had correspondence with them,” Schneiderman added, according to a Politico report. “I didn’t make a big deal out of it or hold a press conference. We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it’s complying with the laws governing charities in New York.”

Schneiderman’s announcement comes on the heels of two separate stories about the Trump Foundation’s shady dealings. The first is an investigation into the Trump Foundation’s $25,000 donation in 2013 to a campaign group associated with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. At the time, Bondi was reviewing allegations that Trump University swindled students into the false belief they were attending an accredited university. But days after the check was cut, Bondi, now a prominent Trump surrogate, dropped the investigation.

The donation violated tax law. Trump Foundation officials said it was the result of clerical errors, but it was recently required to pay a $2,500 fine to the IRS nonetheless. And yesterday, House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether bribery occurred.

The second story is detailed in a September 10 Washington Post deep-dive into the Trump Foundation. The report details how Trump on more than one occasion used Trump Foundation funds to give himself gifts, like in 2007 when he bought a $20,000 six-foot painting of himself that ended up at one of his golf courses. The IRS prohibits people from using their nonprofit group’s money to buy things for themselves.

Schneiderman supports Hillary Clinton and has pulled no punches when talking about Trump. While discussing his ongoing investigation into Trump University in June—part of a separate lawsuit brought by the attorney general’s office—Schneiderman characterized Trump’s defunct “university” as “a fraud from beginning to end.”

Trump “bilked millions out of money and we’re going to make sure he pays it back,” Schneiderman added.

In a statement released Tuesday, Trump spokesman Jason Miller noted Schneiderman’s support of Clinton and characterized the investigation as “nothing more than another left-wing hit job designed to distract from Crooked Hillary Clinton’s disastrous week.”