New York Attorney General Moves Against Trump Foundation

495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreWe have been discussing the serious allegations against Donald Trump’s charitable foundation, which have been used in transactions that are linked to Trump’s businesses rather than charities.   — which has been sustained for years by donors outside the Trump family — has never obtained the certification that New York requires before charities can solicit money from the public, according to the state attorney general’s office.  Now, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) has made the surprising allegation that the Donald J. Trump Foundation does not have the necessary registration and annual audit to operate as a large foundation.  I have been critical of Schneiderman in his investigation of climate change skeptics.  However, the failure to obtain this necessary registration and comply with basic auditing is quite surprising. Once again, I am unclear how any attorneys representing Trump could continue to maintain the charity without satisfying such basic legal requirements, particularly one (the auditing) designed to prevent the very type of intermingling of funds that been raised by critics.

Any charity that solicits more than $25,000 a year from the public must obtain this registration before raising money and submit to annual audits to assure that no money is used to benefit the officers through self-dealing. Schneiderman could move to enjoin the charity and even force the return of past money raised by Trump.  What is known is that the Trump Foundation took in at least $1.67 million through Trump’s website.  Trump has reportedly given at least $5.4 million between 1987 and 2006.

In Trump’s defense, two points should be raised. First, there is still a considerable amount of money given to charity from this foundation, even if you consider the couple of controversies that we discussed earlier.  Second, for much of its history, Trump was the only donor.  That would allow him to claim the minimal level of reporting and certification under Estates, Powers and Trusts Law.  His attorneys did in fact file annual reports during that period in compliance with the law and there was likely no required independent audit.

The key period will be the last decade when the Foundation began to solicit donations from third parties.  The gradual change may have blindsided Trump’s attorneys but it should not have.  At some point, the charity had change to a major solicitor of charitable funds.

This is a serious matter because courts treat these requirements as straightforward and unrelenting standards.  There is little room for interpretation. That would place the New York attorney general in a commanding position unless the certification and auditing allegations are proven false.

190 thoughts on “New York Attorney General Moves Against Trump Foundation

  1. WOW, talk about a thread that has gone astray. After the first few comments, this thread strayed completely away from the topic of the original post and became a Clinton bashing thread. In fact, the entire thread reminds me of the misdirection technique used by Trump nearly every time he gives a talk. Anytime a question is raised about his comments, behaviors or activities, he or his surrogates give it their best shot to redirect the conversation to questions about or criticisms of Clinton. It often succeeds, and the original question directed at him or criticism made of him goes unanswered. Now, I know that one or more of you are likely to respond to this by pointing out that Clinton does the same thing. I acknowledge that, though she does not do it nearly as much as Trump does. But it is wrong when either of them does it. It certainly is not a acceptable argument to excuse Trump’s doing this by pointing out that Hillary does it too, or visa versa. Someone else’s bad behavior does not exempt from criticism another person’s same or similar bad behavior. None of us should accept this from any of the candidates. Each of them should be called out for it when they engage in this misdirection. Likewise, it is shameful that it is being done by some in this thread. Again, the original post was about Trump, not Clinton. The content of the original post should have been the subject of the majority of the comments here. But far more than the majority of comments have been about Clinton whose name was not even mentioned in JT’s original post.

      • And the diagnosis is that a great many folks posting at this blog have a severe case of it. It’s an ailment that appears to severely infect the rational thinking faculties.

        • re: “Clinton Derangement Syndrome” Takes one to know one. One thing about Clinton is that opposition to her has inspired the Creative Class. Hell, even Squeek – certainly not a Bernieorbuster — was kind enough to compose a parody song for me when I was grieving Bernie’s kneecapping by the DNC. “The Night they Drug Ol’ Bernie Down” to the tune of “the night they drove old dixie down” Just wish I could find the lyrics again. Squeek???

          Thing about this blog I like is that it is free speech – not confined to a topic.

          • “Takes one to know one.” WOW, how original of you. You couldn’t come up with a less childish cliche?

            “…not confined to a topic.” This is certainly debatable given that there does appear to be a self-selected confined topic when it comes to the election. That topic is Clinton. JT posts a piece about Trump, and immediately the subject of conversation is Clinton. Look back through this blog at nearly every election piece JT has posted, no matter who was the subject of the original piece. Then examine the comment section. It is overwhelmingly Clinton bashing. Hell, I bet that if JT were to post a piece about some relatively obscure politician from some relatively obscure place who had engaged in some shady activity, you folks would in short order redirect the conversation to yet another Clinton bashing fest.

            • Pelton Randy. It’s surely gonna be sad day for you when Clinton Cash dries up. Any plans after your correct the record career? Face the music: HRC is equally despised by the Right and the Progressives. We have our differences but are united in that we know she must be defeated. And yes, I can be childish in my retorts. Why not? The only way to deal with crazies is to be even crazier.

              • Just does not fit into your narrative that anyone other than yourself or someone who shares your view could arrive at a different conclusion or decision for any reason other than money. What a cynical reality you inhabit. I am aware that HRC is despised by most on the right and many Progressive, but not all as you imply. Again you appear to have self-designated yourself as the spokesperson for all progressives. I voted for Bernie in the primary. Would have much preferred Elizabeth Warren. But neither of these choices are available to me now. So I am stuck with Donald, Hillary, Gary and Jill. Frankly, I am not particularly excited about any of the choices. But based on the calculus that I use to make my choices in elections, the four candidates rank in the following order: Hillary, Jill, Gary, Trump. So Hillary gets my vote. You aren’t required to approve of the method by which I make my choices, but my method is no more or less superior than yours. My calculus involves evaluating the candidates through application of my secular humanist principles, my subscription to the consequentialist branch of ethics, the weight and ranking I give to each of the issues, and finally the political principles to which I subscribe, principles which must be consistent with my secular humanist worldview. I’m sure you have a method that works for you. Make whatever judgement you will about my choice but you can just stick your opinion up the orifice where the sun don’t shine if you think that my choices are based on nothing more than crass monetary considerations. You have no basis other than an adherence to dogma and ideological purity for assuming that my choice is any less based on rational or reasoned considerations than are yours.

            • peltonrandy – do you not agree that Hillary Clinton deserves to be bashed at every opportunity? Trump took on Hillary, Holt and a bad microphone at the last debate. Do you not think the fix is in? George Soros and David Brock are paying bloggers to back Hillary on sites like this. Don’t you think Trump should get some help as the underdog?

    • peltonrandy – you cannot talk about Trump without talking about the hands-off kids-glove treatment given to Clinton. You want to talk about one, you have to talk about the other.

      • OK, then live by your own words. No one is talking about Trump on this thread. I never advocated for applying kids gloves to Clinton. But many here are engaging in all manner of mental contortions to talk only about Clinton. By your above logic, whenever JT posts a piece about Clinton then there should be a whole lot of comments about Trump. But that does not happen. You people appear to have an obssesive hatred of the woman, so much so that all you want to talk about is how much you dislike Clinton, while ignoring damn near all criticism of Trump. Trump is treated with kid gloves on this site. So don’t give me this shit about treating Clinton with kids-glove. It is you and others here who are violating your rule that if we’re going to talk about one we should talk about the other. None of the candidates should be treated with kid gloves, so stop doing it when it comes to Trump.

  2. […] What was also quite striking was this that the Fortune’s Geoff Colvin noted about the potential impact this will have on Mr Trump personally as it is clear (and we agree) that it has been his Brand that has been at the forefront of his success–and as the New York Attorney General has launched an investigation of the Trump Foundation as noted by Professor Turley in his blog this morning: […]

  3. @peltonrandy, October 4, 2016 at 12:32 am
    “Trump is treated with kid gloves on this site.”

    Do you consider linking to this SNL sketch as treating Trump with kid gloves?

    Ken Rogers, October 2, 2016 at 6:56 pm
    “Those are good, but I think this one’s even better. I don’t know who the woman is, or who wrote the script, but she and Baldwin nail it.”

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