Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has been ordered to suspend its fundraising immediately for violating state law, the New York attorney general’s office said on Monday.
The Trump Foundation was served with a cease-and-desist letter on Friday, in which James Sheehan, the head of the attorney general’s charities bureau, wrote that the New York-based organization “must immediately cease soliciting contributions or engaging in any other fundraising activities in New York”.
“Further, the Trump Foundation must notify any third parties engaged in solicitation or fundraising activities in New York on its behalf to immediately case any such activities,” Sheehan added.
The notice stated that the Republican presidential nominee’s eponymous foundation was soliciting donations of more than $25,000 a year without having registered for the proper certification pursuant to article 7-A under New York law. As a result, the Trump Foundation has not undergone the external audits or been subject to the kind of oversight required by the state of charities seeking donations from members of the public.
New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, launched an investigation into the Trump Foundation last month amid several reports that raised questions over its practices. The Washington Post published a series of stories including revelations that Trump had not donated to his foundation since 2008, relying since then entirely on other people’s money in an arrangement deemed as highly unusual for a family charity.
In some instances, Trump reportedly used the money to purchase gifts for himself. One such purchase, mocked by Barack Obama at a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton last month, was a $20,000 portrait of Trump himself that the real estate mogul earmarked as charity, the paper reported.
Trump also used more than $250,000 from the foundation to settle lawsuits against his businesses and in 2013 gave $25,000 to a campaign group associated with Florida’s Republican attorney general, Pamela Bondi, both in apparent violation of the law, the Post wrote.
Trump’s campaign has largely avoided questions concerning the foundation, dismissing the stories instead as “peppered with inaccuracies and omissions” while failing to identify any specific errors in the news reports.
Read the complete article on the Guardian Newspaper site here.