President Donald Trump faces a new round of possible tax trouble after the New York Times bombshell report that documented decades worth of shady dealings and fraud by the Trump family, including the president.
But Trump and his children, including Donald Jr. and Ivanka, are also facing a lawsuit over their family foundation. And, on Thursday, the New York Attorney General’s office filed new documents that allege “willful and intentional conduct” that violated the law, including by using the Foundation for his political campaign.
“For more than a decade, the Foundation operated in persistent violation of state and federal law governing charities,” the filings say. “The Board abdicated its fiduciary duties entirely, leaving the Foundation to operate without any oversight, and permitted Mr. Trump to use the Foundation’s assets to satisfy his and his for-profit companies’ legal obligations, to promote Trump hotels, to purchase personal items, and, in 2016 – at the direction of Mr. Trump and his presidential campaign- to promote Mr. Trump’s candidacy for political office.”
The New York attorney general says that the Trumps knew what they were doing was illegal, and did it anyway.
“Mr. Trump was aware of the limitations on political activity by not-for-profits: he signed documents under the penalty of perjury attesting that Foundation assets would not be used for the benefit of any Foundation officer or director or for political purposes, and he even campaigned for the repeal of one prohibition on using charitable assets to intervene in a political campaign,” the document says.
The state of New York is seeking to dissolve the foundation because it “carried on, conducted or transacted its business in a persistently fraudulent or illegal manner, or by the abuse of its powers contrary to public policy of the state has become liable to be dissolved.”
Another interesting aspect is the fact that Trump and his lawyers have sought to claim that he can’t be pursued by a state attorney general because of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The New York AG is pushing back hard against that, pointing out that there is no precedent for such a claim.
Trump was “unable to cite a single case in which a court has dismissed a civil suit against a sitting U.S. president for unofficial acts on the ground that the court’s jurisdiction would be unconstitutional.”
If the Trump team ends up losing that claim and appealing it, the the subject of whether Trump can be brought into a trial while in office will be settled sooner rather than later.
Read the complete filing here.