New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has ordered Donald Trump’s charity to stop soliciting donations in the state.
A letter sent to the foundation on Friday and released today issued a “notice of violation” to the charity, because it has failed to provide annual financial reports and audited financial statements, and isn’t even registered with the state. Despite this, the attorney general’s charities bureau found that the organization had been soliciting donations throughout 2016, a violation of state law.
“The Trump Foundation must immediately cease soliciting contributions or engaging in any other fundraising activities in New York,” wrote James Sheehan, chief of the bureau.
Trump has a pattern of being a stingy philanthropist. Recent reports show that he often makes promises to donate large sums of money then fails to fulfill them, and this includes his own foundation. He once spent $20,000 of the foundation’s money on a massive portrait of himself and a $12,000 football helmet signed by Tim Tebow, both potentially illegal transactions. It took four months and pressure from the Washington Post before Trump fulfilled a promise to donate $1 million of his own money to veteran’s causes after a televised fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa raised $6 million.
The Trump Foundation, which is currently being investigated by Schneiderman’s office, must produce the missing annual audits and financial statements (including those that have been missing in previous past years) within fifteen days. Failure to do so, according to the letter, is a “fraud upon the people of the state of New York.”
Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Trump’s for-profit university in 2013 for fraud; the Republican presidential candidate could be called to testify in this and several other pending lawsuits after the general election, even if he wins.
The New York Times reported last month that the organization does not appear on charity lists in 38 states, while the Clinton Foundation appears to be registered everywhere. Over the weekend, a report found that Trump may have avoided paying federal income taxes for almost two decades.