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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

NPR BREAKING NEWS:Trump Foundation To Dissolve Amid New York AG's Investigation.


Donald Trump during a January 2016 campaign event awarding a $100,000 check to a veterans charity in Sioux City, Iowa. Trump's use of his personal foundation during the campaign raised legal questions about the foundation's activities.
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has announced that the Trump Foundation will dissolve. The foundation was established by Donald Trump well before he ran for president.
The news comes as her office continues its investigation into various questions about the foundation's conduct, including whether the foundation broke the law by coordinating with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and whether it was truly functioning as a charitable organization.
Underwood said her office had detailed "a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation" and that the foundation's decision to shutter was "an important victory for the rule of law."
The foundation agreed to dissolve under the supervision of a judge. Underwood's office will supervise the disbursement of the foundation's remaining assets to charities. The New York attorney general's office will continue its lawsuit against the foundation and is seeking millions in restitution and penalties and also seeks to bar Trump and his children from serving on the boards of other New York charities.
The investigation was spurred by a series of reports in The Washington Post about the foundation's activities, which suggested little, if any, actual charitable giving, and a pattern of helping Trump's business and political ambitions.
Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington executive director Noah Bookbinder said, "It is good to see this fraud is finally over." CREW had filed complaints calling for investigations into the foundation.
Underwood sued the foundation in June, saying it repeatedly solicited money from donors and then used it for campaign-related purposes, violating federal election law. The money was also used to benefit Trump' business interests, by settling legal claims against it, for example, Underwood said.
Underwood also said that Trump's three oldest children — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump — had exercised no real control over the foundation's activities, despite being nominal board members.
In its most recent available filing with the IRS, in 2016 the foundation reported $2,929,274 in revenue and $3,075,269 in expenses. Most of the foundations donations that year went to veterans groups, following a campaign promise candidate Trump. The foundation also donated $25,000 to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, according to CREW, in an apparent effort to dissuade her from investigating Trump University, another now-shuttered Trump venture.
In late 2016 Trump said he wanted to dissolve the foundation, but was prevented by Underwood as her investigation continued.
The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment from NPR.
NPR's Brett Neeley and Peter Overby contributed to this story.