Trump Foundation is no charity at all: New York AG says Trump lacks certification to collect funds

The Washington Post is out with another blockbuster report on Trump's "foundation of fakery"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published September 30, 2016 5:22PM (EDT)

 (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Two weeks after New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he had opened a broad inquiry into Donald Trump's troubled foundation, a new report alleges the Republican nominee never actually obtained the certification that the state requires before charities can legitimately solicit money from the public.

According to exhaustive reporting by David A. Fahrenthold of The Washington Post, the Donald J. Trump Foundation never obtained the necessary certification to solicit money from the public during its nearly 30-year existence, an investigation by the state's attorney general's office has found.

ABC News has also confirmed the report.

New York law states that any charity that asks for more than $25,000 per year needs to obtain a special registration before soliciting offers. The Post, citing tax filings, reported that the Trump Foundation had raised more than $25,000 from outsiders in each of the last 10 years. The Post specifically detailed cases involving $2.3 million that raise questions about whether the money should have been taxed as income and whether that income was properly reported:

If New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) finds that Trump’s foundation raised money in violation of the law, he could order the charity to stop raising money immediately. With a court’s permission, Schneiderman could also force Trump to return money that his foundation has already raised.

Despite claims of giving away millions of dollars of his own money, Trump has not donated to his namesake foundation since 2008.

Another Post report earlier this week claimed Trump spent $258,000 from his foundation to settle lawsuits that involved his businesses – an apparent violation of laws against “self-dealing,” which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves.

Of course, the Trump Foundation has adopted a very charitable definition for its charitable giving, which included a $25,000 campaign donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi just four days before her office decided not to participate in a lawsuit against Trump University.

The Daily Beast also reported Friday that in 2010, the Trump Foundation gave $10,000 to Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue, a nonprofit group whose primary goal is to promote false links between vaccinations and autism.

“McCarthy’s charity promotes ‘alternative vaccination physicians’ and has a grant program to provide families with autistic children with vitamins, minerals, and supplements; urine testing; and ‘dietary intervention training,'” The Daily Beast noted.



By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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