(Image: IowaPolitics.com, Creative Commons)

Lawyers for the Trump Foundation agreed to dissolve the embattled philanthropic entity late last year amid an ongoing investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office.

For nearly 30 years, the Trump Foundation has allegedly engaged in a variety of illegal activities, from using charitable gifts to spruce up Trump properties to unlawful coordination with Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Among the many allegations, Trump purportedly directed the use of foundation funds to purchase a portrait of himself at an inflated value.

Remarks from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen appear to confirm this story.

Speaking before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee committee on Wednesday, Cohen stated that

Mr. Trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an Art Hamptons Event. The objective was to ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest price of any portrait that afternoon.

Cohen concluded:

the portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. Mr. Trump directed the Trump Foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder, despite keeping the art for himself.

The high profile nature of this case shines a light on corruption in the philanthropic sector. Utilizing charitable donations for self-enrichment is against the law, and high-ranking individuals in the Trump Foundation—including Trump himself—could be held accountable for this breach of trust with the organization’s former donors.

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