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New York Attorney General Investigating Eric Trump’s Charitable Foundation

Earlier this week, I took note of a report in Forbes regarding the fundraising and expenditures by Eric Trump’s charitable foundation, which appears to have paid an unusually large amount of money to businesses controlled by his father and his family. Yesterday, New York Attorney General Eric Schnederman announced that it had launched an investigation into the Eric Trump Foundation:

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is looking into allegations of self-dealing by the Eric Trump Foundation that were raised by a recent Forbes report.

Schneiderman was already investigating the Donald J. Trump Foundation for whether or not the president personally benefited from the fundraising efforts and spending of the foundation before the inauguration.

“I can confirm that our office is looking into issues at the Eric Trump Foundation raised by the Forbes report,” said Eric Soufer, the attorney general’s director of communications.

Forbes reported this week that it appears the Eric Trump Foundation shifted some money from a benefit for children with cancer at St. Jude’s Hospital into the Trump Organization, a move that could run afoul of prohibitions against self-dealing on the part of charities.

Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Eric Trump Foundation, said the group plans to cooperate with Schneiderman’s review.

“During the past decade, the Eric Trump Foundation has raised over $16.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, including more than $3.6 million to St. Jude and other worthwhile causes just in 2016 alone,” Miller said in a statement. “The Foundation intends to cooperate fully with the Attorney General’s review, and looks forward to a productive and open dialogue with the Attorney General’s Office to address any questions it may have.”

As I noted in my post, New York State has some of the strictest laws regarding operation of charities in the country and Schneiderman has been particularly aggressive in investigating and prosecuting charitable operations that are violating the law. It’s possible that there are innocent explanations for the odd transactions that Forbes reported on, and we shouldn’t assume that Eric Trump or anyone else is guilty of a crime. At the same time, though, the publicly available financial records of the charity raise serious questions that need to be investigated notwithstanding whatever good intentions Eric Trump may have or the fact that his father is President.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    What is there to say but…”Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. Slugger says:

    I hope to see a change in how we treat ” not for profits” in general. Providing tax shields for outfits that pay millions to their officers and dribble a small percent to their ostensible cause is wrong. Let’s get rid of this entire category. Then replace it with a “eleemosynary” category which would require that 85% of the funds go to the cause. Also, I would limit the income of the CEO to $600,000. Running the local hospital system is a great honor which along with 50 grand a month will keep you and the kids warm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. gVOR08 says:

    and we shouldn’t assume that Eric Trump or anyone else is guilty of a crime.

    Innocent until proven guilty is a constraint on the legal system, and by extension on the media. A proper and necessary constraint. I get to draw what conclusions seem right based on the evidence in front of me. Would you, if the subject came up, state “OJ was innocent” or would you make a qualified statement like “OJ was found not guilty”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Slugger: I’m with you right up to the $50 grand/month part, but I’ve been told (repeatedly) since my young adulthood that you can’t get quality people to do work for the good of mankind without paying them confiscatory levels of the gross (no pun intended) take. So…

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  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Slugger: @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: For ’18 Dems should campaign for reform of corporate governance, profit and non-profit alike. Piketty notes that astronomical CEO salaries are largely a U.S. phenomenon. Not something I know much about, but this would seem to indicate that isn’t a given that the compensation committee be a gang looting the company. My first thought on a slogan would be, “Screw the Bastards”. I’ll have to work on something better.

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  6. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    What is there to say but…”Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!”

    Change that to the third person plural. It seems to be a family of crooks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. dazedandconfused says:

    It’s ultimately about his dad, if the reports the order to start skimming with ridiculous course fees from the charity are true, the publicity will be most embarrassing. Trump Inc may in the end suffer greatly from his decision to run for President. I keep hearing about proposed projects but what bank is willing to have their name associated with that family after all this? No many, that much I am sure of, and fewer still while he is POTUS.

    Eric is technically on the hook and he is there because he lacked the balls to cross his dad. He could have all but certainly have talked other clubs into hosting the events for at most a reasonable fee. Maybe the key reason Donald Trump is the insufferable POS he currently is is nobody close to him will stand up to him, not even his kids.

    Lessons….

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