Trump Foundation to Close Amid Controversy

Trump wants to avoid “even an appearance” of any conflict of interest

Trump with Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi

Donald Trump has announced that he is going to shut his charitable foundation, although there is an ongoing investigation into the practices of the organization.

Trump said that he wants to avoid “even an appearance” of any conflict of interest. A suspected “impropriety” investigation of the foundation is underway by the New York’s attorney general; Trump denies any wrongdoing. The office of the Attorney General said that the foundation couldn’t be closed until the investigation reaches a conclusion.

Here’s the statement from Trump:-

“The foundation has done enormous good works over the years in contributing millions of dollars to countless worthy groups, including supporting veterans, law enforcement officers and children. However, to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as president I have decided to continue to pursue my strong interest in philanthropy in other ways.”

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, said in September that his office wanted to make sure that the foundation was complying with all the laws that govern charitable bodies in New York. He also added that there was a possibility that Trump Foundation was involved in some impropriety.

The attorney general office has been investigating the foundation since last June. It questioned a donation made to a group backing Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013.

The payment ($25,000) was made at a time when Mrs. Bondi’s office was contemplating on opening a fraud case into Trump University. The fraud case was never filed, hinting an influenced decision, although Mrs. Bondi has defended her office by saying the decision was not influenced by the donation.

Some of the aides to Mr. Trump have already accepted that the donation occurred due to a clerical mistake.

The Donald J Trump Foundation was founded by Mr. Trump in 1987 with money he earned from his best-selling book, The Art of the Deal. The primary funding of the foundation was done by Trump until 2005, after which his associates and friends bankrolled it exclusively.

The foundation’s claimed assets totaled around $1.3m according to its 2014 filing with the Internal Revenue Service. Richard Ebers, New York ticket-reselling mogul, was the principal donor in 2014. Vince McMahon, the professional wrestling impresario, is among the prominent donors for the foundation. Many contributions came as a form of payment due to Mr. Trump, like Times Magazine donated $150,000 for receiving rights to publish the picture of Trump’s son, Baron.

It’s still unclear that who will run the Trump Organization while Mr. Trump is in the White House. It appears that his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner would be handed a responsibility in the administration.

Eric Trump also announced last week that he would stop fundraising for his self-named foundation. In the last couple of weeks, Trump’s children, Eric, Ivanka, and Donald Trump Jr. have pulled out of fundraising events possibly to avoid giving the impression that they might be selling access to President-elect Donald Trump.