If you read the statement by the New York Attorney General, you would believe the Trump Foundation was caught up in some massive scandal.
The statement by Trump after the suit was settled as well as the judge’s ruling in this case, however, paint a different picture.
The lawsuit against the Foundation was initiated by former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The NY AG accused the Trump Foundation of illegally distributing funds, along with some other accusations.
The suit claimed the Foundation “illegally provided extensive support to his 2016 presidential campaign by using the Trump Foundation’s name and funds it raised from the public to promote his campaign for presidency.”
In December, then-Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, who has no love lost for Trump, issued the following statement:
“Our petition detailed 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.
“This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”
“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone.
“We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of federal and state law.”
The decision by the judge, in this case, would seem to lend far more credence to the Trump argument rather than that of Underwood’s statement in 2018 or that of current AG Letitia James.
James’ office was asking for a $2.8 million restitution settlement as well as $5.6 million in penalties.
Instead, the judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million in damages for the improper use of funds.
After the judgment was handed down by Judge Saliann Scarpulla, James stated, “The Trump Foundation has shut down, funds that were illegally misused are being restored, the president will be subject to ongoing supervision by my office, and the Trump children had to undergo compulsory training to ensure this type of illegal activity never takes place again.
“The court’s decision, together with the settlements we negotiated, are a major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain.”
According to the Trump camp, the AG has politicized this entire lawsuit.
Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas stated, “Contrary to the NYAG’s misleading statement issued earlier today, the Foundation has been seeking to dissolve and distribute its remaining assets to worthwhile charitable causes since Donald J. Trump’s victory in the 2016 Presidential election.
“Unfortunately, the NYAG sought to prevent dissolution for almost two years, thereby depriving those most in need of nearly $1.7 million. Over the past decade, the Foundation is proud to have distributed approximately $19 million, including $8.25 million of the President’s personal money, to over 700 different charitable organizations with virtually zero expenses.
“The NYAG’s inaccurate statement of this morning is a further attempt to politicize this matter.”
President Trump also immediately pushed back, releasing a statement on Twitter…
The Trump Foundation also released a statement pushing back on the accusations made by the Attorney General, stating, “Following the 2016 presidential election, the Trump Foundation publicly announced its intention to voluntarily dissolve and distribute all of its remaining funds to charity.
“Unfortunately, that donation was delayed due to the Attorney General’s politically motivated lawsuit.
“We are pleased that the Court, in rejecting the Attorney General’s frivolous request for statutory penalties, interest and other damages, recognized that every penny ever raised by the Trump Foundation has gone to help those most in need. Now that this matter is concluded, the Trump Foundation is proud to make this additional contribution.”
In addition to the $2 million in damages, the Foundation will also distribute the remaining $1.78 million that was already in the fund to several charities.
Those charities are Army Emergency Relief, the Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals-on-Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, United Negro College Fund, United Way of National Capital Area, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
While everyone will have their own take on this, Democrats will clearly view this as a massive victory proving the corruption of Donald Trump and they will surely use this against him in the upcoming election.
I would expect Joe Biden, in particular, to put this to work for his campaign right away to try to set himself up for the general election as well as deflect the corruption allegations now floating around about both he and his son.