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. These are your Democrats of today

    Just yesterday we wrote about an FBI investigation into potential voter fraud in the critical swing state of Virginia after it was revealed that 19 dead people had recently been re-registered to vote (see “FBI Investigating More Dead People Voting In The Key Swing State Of Virginia”). While the Washington Post caught wind of the investigation, it was not known who was behind the operation…until now.

    Meet, Andrew Spieles, a student at James Madison University, and apparently “Lead Organizer” for HarrisonburgVOTES. According to the Daily News-Record, Spieles confessed to re-registering 19 deceased Virginians to vote in the 2016 election cycle.

    While this should come as a surprise to precisely 0 people, Spieles just happens to be Democrat who, accorded to a deleted FaceBook post, apparently recently ran for Caucus Chair of the Virginia Young Democrats.

    It’s too bad really, sounds like Spieles had all the right “special talents” required to be very successful politician…he just forgot the most important first rule: “Don’t get caught.”

    The 19 applications of deceased citizens were submitted by Spieles through an organization called HarrisonburgVOTES. According to the organization’s “About Us” page, HarrisonburgVOTES is a “non-partisan” voter registration organization in Harrisonburg, VA and the surrounding areas.

    As the HarrisonburgVOTES webpage points out, the sole goal of the organization is to raise the number of registered voters in Harrisonburg to 25,000…though it’s unclear what percentage of that goal was intended to be filled by dead voters.

    The sole goal of HarrisonburgVOTES is to increase the number of registered voters in Harrisonburg and the surrounding areas to increase and encourage civic engagement.

    Harrisonburg has the lowest percentage of voting age population (VAP) registered to vote among Virginia localities. Very roughly, about 17,000 people are registered to vote and about 18,000 are voting age and not registered. The goal of HarrisonburgVOTES will be to overcome these issues and raise the number of registered voters to 25,000.

    HarrisonburgVOTES was founded by Joseph Fitzgerald who, “shockingly”, is also a prominent democrat in Harrisonburg. Fitzgerald is currently Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District Democratic Committee in Virginia and the former Mayor of Harrisonburg.

    Fitzgerald told reporters, of course, that his organization had no knowledge of Spieles’s actions and fired him immediately after his confession.

    “He’s smart, and he understands the [political] process,” Fitzgerald told the Daily News-Record of Spieles. “Who the hell knows what his motivations were?”

    While we agree it’s difficult to be 100% sure about anyone’s motivations, we would be willing to put money on it having something to do with registering a bunch of dead people and then having them all vote for Hillary in November….just a hunch.

  2. Pietro, the people put these 2 people where they are. They made it through the primaries and this is what we have. I don’t vote for photos.

  3. How could any person eligible to vote, go to the polls and vote for that weird dude in the photo who calls himself The Donald? Some of the Hillary photos posted here are bad but all the Trump photos out there in the media are bad. This guy is like some jerk who gets his own sitcom show on television or something.

    1. Don the Con has gotten where he is this year by appealing to the very worst in people. He puts out the call for racism, religious bigotry, fear, misogyny, nationalism, violence, etc., and a whole bunch of deplorable people hop out of their basket and rush to follow him.

      I would call it dog whistle politics, but more often than not, he doesn’t even bother with the whistle.

      Not every Trump supporter is a racist misogynistic bigot, but the racist misogynistic bigots are all for Trump.

      1. phillyT – not all the racists have come out for Trump, the BLM is still firmly behind Hillary.

  4. Tim Black on Comey, FBI, immunity and HRC’s emails “justice only affects the peasants” at 6:55

  5. The apparent desperation being exhibited by the MSM and any HRC support entity to try to get anything to stick to Donald Trump to somehow totally distract and elevate HRC to a legitimate enterprise worthy of one’s vote for her is telling and remarkable.

    I would expect some Seppuku on the part of the “other” GOP stock holders. The ones that don’t support The Donald that will have no choice but to vote for the HRCriminal in order to nobly save their souls should be sharpening their knives.

    The pimps become the hookers.

    1. Roscue, it’s very simple. Follow the money. All the Repuglicans who now support HRC are in favor of the TPP.

      1. Didn’t – contributed to Bernie who was knee capped by the DNC and DWS. Despicable criminals.

  6. Trump Foundation. It stands on fallow ground. The ground won’t “perk” as the bankers say when the tests for the ability to set up a sistern fails. So when the ground won’t perk you cannot get a loan. When the Foundation is further evaluated we will find that the outhouse is filled with things that Trump wants to hide. We need someone to clean the outhouse.

  7. POTUS FLOTUS AND V POTUS are not flying around on the taxpayers dime. They fly on the HR Clinton campaign dime and their own. Not legal for them to do so at taxpayer expense, surely you don’t think after having the first scandal free White House in recent memory, they would give you something to crow about now at the end.

    1. “bunnie” are you really that stupid? ANYTIME a sitting or previous president/spouse, VP travels it costs taxpayers – they have extra security and more often than not travel on AF 1 and AF 2.. Scandal free WH, really?? I think not.

  8. We sure do. Tell McConnell and Ryan to pass some legislation. They have tied up the funds for 8 years. We need new leadership in congress.

    1. Any valuable legislation they secured would be vetoed unless they extorted the president’s co-operation by denying him something he wanted (and you’d complain about that if they did that). The president’s primary goals have been for about six years now driven by spite, and can be achieved by sellouts to foreigners and using the Justice department and the IRS to harass people.

  9. Veering off topic as usual. I am wondering – how much is it costing taxpayers for Biden and Michelle to hit the campaign trail for her? Totally disgusted with this charade.

      1. Rudolph Giuliani is one of the very few public office-holders that has actual accomplishments he can point to that would matter to someone outside the circle of public office holders. That liberals despise him is an indicator of their shallowness.

    1. It is costing the taxpayer plenty for Trump using our money to charge exorbitant rates for his Secret Service detail to ride on his B-757. He not only charges higher rates than Clinton for the same thing, but insists on flying back home from each appearance and not staying at a hotel. Thus making more money for himself for his convenience. He then raised the rent for his own campaign in his own building by FIVE TIMES that amount he had charged when he was securing the nomination. So he is using his political campaign to bilk his followers out of their money and putting in his own pocket.

      As an airline captain flying out of LGA a lot, I saw his old B-727 parked there most of the time. It was NOT even registered in the US, but in Bermuda, to avoid paying any NY state property taxes, even though it spent most of its time in NY. At least he had the smarts to register his latest plane in the US. I loved to point this out to my F/Os when we were in LGA.

      1. The Secret Service spent $1.6 million on Trump and $2.6 million on Hillary Clinton so far.

        The difference is that Trump, a businessman, has been choosing his own buildings and planes to fly in. If you own a corporate jet, why fly commercial or charter? If you own a venue you are proud of, why not use it?

        In my opinion, the classy and ethical thing to do would be to not charge the SS at all for flying on his own planes and give himself and his campaign a family discount, or not use his own buildings. It’s rather like recusing yourself for conflict of interest.

        It’s not illegal, but it would be the classy thing to do not to make money off the SS, even if it does not make business sense.

        1. The Trump family has made millions of dollars so far, charging his campaign for use of the plane and for use of his hotels to hold events.

          Remember when he said he didn’t need other people’s money for this campaign? Turns out it was just the opposite! What a con he is. Don the Con.

          1. Both Bushes were some of the classiest people around. Always nice to the Secret Service, even BBQing for them. W didn’t respond to a lot of the mudslinging because he didn’t want to roll in the mud. And he wrote a very supportive letter to Obama for his first day. And I recall W took a verbal beating from the distraught mother of a soldier he visited at the hospital. By all accounts, he cried in Air Force 1. They were both known for their good manners.

    1. Liberals have a well known tendency to get their political information from comedians.

    1. If Clintons had run their foundation the way Trump runs his, she would be in prison. She and Bill have not received any money or benefit from their foundation, UNLIKE Trump. She has made public all of their donors, made public her tax returns, and in fact, have complied with all laws, UNLIKE Trump. Yet we see Prof Turley giving Trump the benefit of the doubt on all of his crimes, while NO doubt exists as to his calling Clinton guilty without evidence or proof or even charges. Incredible.

      1. randyjet – there is evidence the Clintons have been sucking money out of the Clinton Foundation for years. You don’t get a personal worth of $100 million on speaking fees and her salary alone.

                1. Democrats have no interest in facts. They are the most dishonest group on the planet.

          1. SWM – there is a new book out that tears their accounting apart and shows the holes in the fabric. Only Democrats believe the fact-checkers.

      2. Bill receives millions of dollars in a no show job to “chair” the foundation. A lot of their cronies have paid positions. The vast majority of the foundation’s expenditure goes for travel and entertainment. Something like 194 Clinton Foundation donors were given jobs at State. State gave millions of dollars to the Foundation. Almost all of the Clinton’s charitable donations on their tax returns went to their Foundation, which is alleged to be a slush fund and pay-to-play. Foreign nationals gave significant money to the Foundation in exchange for beneficial treatment at State, which is excused as a wild coincidence. And more than half of her meetings as SOS were with donors, excluding all the meetings required with her job (for instance they didn’t count all her meetings with staff such as Huma.)

        If Trump broke the law he should be held accountable. If Hillary broke the law, she should be held accountable, instead of given immunity.

        I am unclear from the article – is failure to get the required registration and annual audit a crime, or penalized by fees?

        1. Correction. I out-typed my brain. Bill was the honorary, no show chancellor for Clinton Foundation major donor, Laureate International Universities. This gave Laureate access to all the right people through State functions to which they were invited, as well as leveraging the Clinton’s personal wealth significantly.

          It all flows through the Clinton Foundation – access to State, opportunities to grow personal wealth, doing favors…

          1. Permit me to add that if Trump has acted in a similar fashion with his own foundation then it is equally reprehensible.

            But the law and public censure should be applied equally.

        2. KarenS

          re: “If Trump broke the law he should be held accountable. If Hillary broke the law, she should be held accountable, instead of given immunity. ”

          Exactly – accountability across the board would do a lot to restore our faith that the system works.

          1. That’s all I want. Fairness. I don’t want “my side” if I have one to be above the law. Politics, wealth, and powerful connections should have no affect on justice.

      3. Right you are!

        And this is not the only problem with Trump and his foundation. He also has used funds to pay for personal expenses, and I believe he used funds to have at least two portraits painted (of himself of course!), which are now being “stored” at his golf club and a hotel.

        He was fined by the IRS for paying the Florida AG a bribe out of his charitable funds account. Oh, did I say bribe? Yes, there’s that too. All about getting her to drop the suit against Trump University.

        Stay tuned for that trial.

        And yesterday we find out he violated the Cuba embargo. That’s going to sit well with his Florida voters.
        Stay tuned, there’s more coming, and unlike Hillary, it appears he actually broke some actual laws.

  10. Issac, great post. Trump has proposed changes to the tax code(he has to propose something, he’s running for president). When everything settles I think not much will change and the working middle class will get stuck with the bill.

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