Donald Trump Foundation Corruption Indictment Lawsuit

(Image: Bin im Garten, Creative Commons)

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that lawyers from the Trump Foundation have agreed to shutter the organization and commit to a court-supervised liquidation of its remaining assets.

Underwood explained to reporters that state authorities uncovered “a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.”

Among the myriad legal troubles plaguing Trump, his family, and those in his inner circle, allegations of malfeasance at the Trump Foundation stretch back decades, dating to the 1980s.

The foundation presented a gift of over $250,000 to the Central Park Conservancy in 1989 that went toward beautification efforts outside of Trump properties. The foundation has allegedly used donations to purchase art for Trump properties (including a $10,000 portrait of Trump himself) and pay for services at Trump hotels.

More recently, the foundation engaged in illegal political activities. Serving as the manager of the Trump campaign, Corey Lewandowsk wrote an email to the foundation’s treasurer in an attempt to coordinate expenditures to help boost Trump’s chances of winning Iowa during the presidential primaries. “Is there any way we can make some disbursements…this week while in Iowa? Specifically on Saturday,” Lewandowski requested in an email disclosed in the state of New York’s lawsuit.

Evident through these actions, Trump and his associates used the foundation to achieve political power and as a tax-exempt piggy bank for self-enrichment.

From the nation’s largest foundation down to the smallest arts nonprofits, good governance is a must for any philanthropic entity. Without integrity and transparency, foundations and nonprofits land in hot water, wasting trust, attention, and resources that are vital for the pursuit of the social good.

The dissolution of the Trump Foundation is just the beginning of Underwood’s lawsuit. Trump and his family face heavy fines and may be barred from serving on nonprofit boards in New York. This legal action says loud and clear that corruption in the philanthropic world is unacceptable, even for individuals who possess enormous public profiles and political power.

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