NY prosecutor orders Trump Foundation to halt fundraising

The attorney general's investigation revealed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's charity violated state law while soliciting funds.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declined to comment on the ‘notice of violation’ issued by the New York State prosecutor. Trump termed the probe ‘politically motivated’.

The New York attorney general has ordered Republican nominee Donald Trump's charitable foundation to stop fundraising in the state immediately. The disclosure came on Monday after an investigation revealed the foundation was violating state law by asking for donations without the right credentials. 

The Donald J Trump Foundation has been accused of engaging in illegal fundraising activities. In addition, The Washington Post reported Trump used foundation money to purchase two portraits of himself and settle lawsuits that involved his business ventures. For Trump, the cease-and-desist order was the latest in a series of blows that has sent his campaign reeling. 

The New York attorney general's office disclosed on Monday, failure to discontinue the solicitation of funds would be constituted as "continuing fraud".

The notice also says the foundation is not registered with state authorities, a requirement for any charity which receives more than $25,000 a year in external donations. 

The notice gave the Trump Foundation 15 days to register the required information. In addition, they need to provide audited financial reports and financial statements with the state's Charities Bureau. "Any person who swears falsely to any document required... may be guilty of a crime under the New York Penal Code," the letter said.

Trump declined to comment except to say that the probe launched by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is a Democrat, was politically motivated.

The Republican presidential nominee is recovering from his shaky performance in his first debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on September 26. The New York Times also released tax records that showed Trump taking a $1 billion loss in 1995 that may have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for almost 20 years.

The New York Attorney General's Office is the sole regulator of charities in the state. A spokesperson for the office said it was not unusual for the regulator to send notices to charities whose filings were overdue or incomplete but that a cease-and-desist letter was more serious.

TRTWorld and agencies