The New York state attorney general has sued President Donald Trump and his three eldest children for operating an alleged sham charity.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed the lawsuit Thursday against the Trump Foundation and its directors -- the president, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump -- alleging a pattern of persistent illegal activity over more than a decade.

The suit claims the foundation illegally coordinated with the Trump campaign and helped prop up the president's personal and business interests.

“As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Underwood said. “This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the Foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”

The attorney general initiated a process to dissolve the Trump Foundation under court supervision and seek restitution of $2.8 million and additional penalties.

Underwood also sent referral letters to the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission seeking investigations into possible violations of federal law.

The investigation found the charity raised more than $2.8 million intended to influence the presidential election during a nationally televised fundraiser Trump held while skipping a Republican primary debate Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.