Dec 11, 2019

Trump pays charities $2M to resolve foundation funds misuse lawsuit

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump has paid charities $2 million following a court-ordered judgment to settle a lawsuit alleging his foundation misused funds, New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Tuesday.

Charities are not a means to an end, which is why these damages speak to the president’s abuse of power and represent a victory for not-for-profits that follow the law."
— Letitia James in a statement

Why it matters: As part of the settlement, Trump was required to agree to 19 admissions, "acknowledging his personal misuse of funds at the Trump Foundation," James said.

  • Consequently, the president has admitted that more than $2.8 million that his foundation raised at a 2016 veterans fundraiser in Iowa "was in fact a campaign event," the New York Times notes. Charities are not allowed to get involved in political campaigns.
  • Another serious admission is that Trump used foundation funds to "settle obligations of some of his for-profit companies, including a golf club in Westchester County, N.Y., and Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida which he frequently visits," NYT reports.

The big picture: The Trump Foundation agreed to dissolve last year in compliance with the lawsuit. Last month, a judge ordered the president and his three elder children to make the substantial donations to eight nonprofit organizations as part of the settlement.

  • Trump has also agreed to "restrictions on future charitable service and ongoing reporting to the Office of the Attorney General, in the event he creates a new charity," James said.
  • The settlement included mandatory training requirements for Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, which James said they'd already completed.

What they're saying: "Not only has the Trump Foundation shut down for its misconduct, but the president has been forced to pay $2 million for misusing charitable funds for his own political gain," James said in her statement.

"My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the president of the United States."

The other side: "Our case was amicably resolved weeks ago," attorneys for Trump said in a statement issued to news outlets. "The legacy of the Trump Foundation — which gave away many millions to those most in need at virtually no cost — is secure."

Go deeper: The fall of the Trump Foundati

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What the Mormon church has in common with Larry Page

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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The big picture: Ensign achieves its tax-exempt status by dint of being an "integrated auxiliary" of the Mormon church. It allegedly receives approximately $1 billion per year from church members' tithes, while disbursing nothing to charitable causes. Between new contributions and investment returns, it has managed to grow to its current gargantuan size.

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