The New York Attorney General’s office filed a memorandum Thursday against efforts by attorneys to dismiss a petition against President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation for misusing funds.
The memorandum was in further support of the petition filed by the New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood in June which said an investigation revealed that the Donald J. Trump Foundation operated in persistent violation of state and federal law governing charities.
The petition in June called to dissolve the Foundation and obtain other monetary and injunctive relief from its directors — Donald J. Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Ivanka Trump. The AG said the Foundation conducted its affairs for over a decade in a persistently illegal manner.
In August, attorneys for the president asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit arguing it was politically motivated. They said the complaint was instigated by Underwood’s predecessor, Eric Schneiderman, whom they called the “leader of the resistance” to the president’s agenda, a report by NY1 said.
“Respondents’ arguments for dismissal are based on misstatements of the Attorney General’s claims or are otherwise without merit,” the memorandum said.
“The Petition filed in this case demonstrates that respondent Donald J. Trump used his control over the Donald J. Trump Foundation for his benefit to advance his personal, business, and political interests in violation of federal and state law governing charities,” it added.
It also accused Trump’s children, who were the other directors of the Foundation, of ignoring their responsibilities such as “holding regular meetings to discuss Foundation business, overseeing the Foundation’s finances, implementing conflict of interest policies, and, most importantly, upholding the fundamental principle that the charitable assets under their care are not to be used for personal benefit.”
“As the entity charged with overseeing the activity of foundations and the proper use of charitable assets, it is the role of the Attorney General of the State of New York to seek the appropriate remedies,” the memorandum said. “As courts have long recognized, the Attorney General’s role in overseeing the charitable sector is a crucial one. Foundations do not have shareholders that can hold them accountable, and their beneficiaries are often, by definition, the most vulnerable in society.”
The memorandum said the law governing the Foundation funds were clear, and did not allow for such conduct. It said the petition filed in June found Trump used the Foundation’s assets for his own personal and his “for-profit companies’ legal obligations,” to promote Trump hotels and his presidential campaign in 2016. According to the document, Trump was “aware of the limitations on political activity by not-for-profits” as he signed a document attesting the Foundation’s funds would not be misused.
Underwood said the foundation “was a shell corporation that functioned as a checkbook from which the business entity known as the Trump Organization made payments – using other people’s money.”