The New York attorney general disclosed that it had ordered Donald Trump’s personal charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, to immediately cease its fundraising activities.
The Trump Foundation must immediately cease soliciting contributions or engaging in any other fundraising activities in New York. — James G. Sheehan, New York Attorney General's Office
Failed to register as charity
According to the order, the Trump Foundation failed to properly register with New York State as a charity. The AG’s office also ordered the Foundation to determine if it had violated state law in prior years. If the Foundation does not comply, Mr. Sheehan said it would be considered “a continuing fraud upon the people of New York.”
Trump claims AG is politically motivated
The Trump campaign responded:
While we remain very concerned about the political motives behind AG Schneiderman’s investigation, the Trump Foundation nevertheless intends to cooperate fully with the investigation. Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time. — Hope Hicks, Trump campaign
Last week, The Washington Post ran a story that the Trump Foundation lacked the required state certificates. The Post story also reported that the Foundation had used its funds to settle legal issues involving Trump companies.
Trump started Foundation in 1987
Mr. Trump started the Foundation in 1987 with proceeds from the sale of his book The Art of the Deal. Between 1987 and 2006, Trump donated $5.4 million. Earlier this year the Foundation gained publicity when Trump asked that contributions for veterans be collected through the Foundation. Trump later presented the raised funds to various veterans groups during political rallies, an apparent violation of rules that prohibit charities from being used for political purposes.
The Trump campaign has previously denounced the Attorney General, noting that Mr. Schneiderman has endorsed Hillary Clinton and referred to him as a “partisan hack.”
More bad news for Trump
Many political observers believe that Mr. Trump has had a particularly bad week that ranged from his perceived poor performance in the debate; his tweet war with a former Miss America; the unauthorized release of his 1995 tax return and today’s news on his Foundation. For a conventional candidate in a conventional political year, this would appear to be a doomsday scenario, but Trump has proven himself unusually adept at ignoring the conventional wisdom.
Early voting began last week in some states and time is running short for Mr. Trump to regain his footing in the race. The next opportunity for Mr. Trump to change the narrative would appear to be in the second debate, but that’s a full week off. Of course, a week ago the race looked almost tied which proves that a week is a long time in politics.