Published: Thu, October 06, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

New York Attorney General: Trump Charitable Foundation Violated The Law

The New York attorney general has notified Donald Trump that his charitable foundation is violating state law - by soliciting donations without proper certification - and ordered Trump's charity to stop its fundraising immediately, the attorney general's office said Monday.

The Washington Post also reported this month that Mr Trump used more than $250,000 of foundation money to settle lawsuits that involved his businesses.

The letter demanded that the Trump Foundation must turn over audited financial statements and annual financial reports within 15 days. James Sheehan, head of the attorney general's charities bureau, wrote that if the foundation continued fundraising without filing such documents, it would be viewed as "a continuing fraud upon the people of NY". The notice goes on to say that while the Trump Foundation solicited donations and engaged in fundraising this year, it is not and was not registered with the bureau.

In addition, the foundation paid $30,000 to buy two portraits of Trump.

The Washington Post first reported last week that Trump likely broke state law by not getting the rights to solicit donors. Mr. Trump has criticized the Clintons' philanthropic venture, the Clinton Foundation, for being a vehicle for political favors, while Mrs. Clinton has so far mostly attacked Mr. Trump's real-estate business practices and Trump University. In addition, they need to provide audited financial reports and financial statements with the state's Charities Bureau.

The attorney general's order comes shortly after the "New York Times" released tax records showing Trump recording losses of $1 billion in 1995, which could have helped him avoid paying taxes for up to 18 years.

Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has previously deflected criticism about his charitable giving, saying that he makes contributions personally and that he has been supportive of his foundation. Trump Foundation fundraising website seemed to no longer be receiving donations on Monday afternoon.

"The failure to discontinue solicitation and to file information and reports shall be deemed a fraud upon the people of the state of New York", Sheehan added. Schneiderman, a Democrat who is supporting Hillary Clinton, sent the cease-and-desist letter a day later.

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