Donald Trump (Reuters/Jay LaPrete)

New York AG Eric Schneiderman opens inquiry into Trump Foundation

Trump's campaign says the investigation is politically motivated

Taylor Link
September 15, 2016 1:15AM (UTC)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into Donald Trump’s nonprofit foundation Tuesday amid backlash over his shady political contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The inquiry will probe the charity's compliance with New York state laws.

Earlier this month, Trump’s campaign revealed the GOP nominee paid the IRS a $2,500 penalty this year after his charitable foundation violated tax laws by improperly donating a $25,000 gift to a campaign group connected to Bondi.


In an interview Tuesday on CNN’s “The Lead,” Schneiderman confirmed the investigation, “We’ve inquired into it,” he told host Jake Tapper. “My interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of nonprofits in New York state. And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view.”

Schneiderman, a Democrat, has sued Trump in the past. In 2013, Schneiderman’s office sued Trump and his now-defunct university for fraud, seeking $40 million in damages.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung says the inquiry into the Donald J. Trump Foundation is politically motivated, calling the attorney general a “partisan hack.”

The investigation comes at a time when Hillary Clinton’s own foundation has aroused intense criticism and scrutiny. But while conjecture involving Clinton and her “pay-to-play” politics remains speculative at best, evidence that Trump has paid to play is rather convincing.

At the time of the $25,000 donation connected to Bondi, Florida's attorney general was trying to determine whether she should open her own inquiry into fraud allegations against Trump University. She ultimately decided not to pursue the case.

Taylor Link

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

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