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New York AG opens investigation against Trump Foundation

in 2017/Top Headlines by

New York’s attorney general is investigating the Donald J. Trump Foundation to make sure the organization is complying with state laws governing charities.

POLITICO is reporting Attorney General Eric Schneiderman “has opened an inquiry into the Trump Foundation based on troubling transactions that have recently come to light.” Schneiderman announced the investigation Tuesday.

Schneiderman recently filed a lawsuit against Trump University, and in an interview with CNN, said the Manhattan billionaire’s charitable foundation is also under examination.

“My interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of nonprofits in New York state,”  Schneiderman told “The Lead” host Jake Tapper. “And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view. … We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it’s complying with the laws governing charities in New York.”

The continued interest in the Trump Foundation comes after several news stories cite tax records showing Trump had not given to his own foundation since 2008, as well as a Washington Post report saying he “spent $20,000 of money earmarked for charitable purposes to buy a 6-foot-tall painting of himself.”

Among the troubles facing Trump’s Foundation include an illegal donation in 2013 to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, during the time Bondi was considering joining Schneiderman in a fraud case against Trump University.

Both Trump and Bondi have denied any connection between the donation and her ultimate decision not to continue the investigation; Trump later paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS for making political donations through a charitable foundation.

Schneiderman, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, has insisted no political motivations were behind the Trump University inquiry and had not hesitated to discuss the case publicly.

Trump University was “really a fraud from beginning to end” and “just a scam,” Schneiderman told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in June. If elected, Trump might have to testify as either president or president-elect,  Schneiderman said.

According to POLITICO, Trump responded by calling Schneiderman “hack” and a “lightweight,” claiming the attorney general “is trying to extort me with a civil lawsuit.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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