Trump Foundation Ordered to Cease Fundraising in State of NY

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STOP / Amy

October 3, 2016; New York Times

Donald Trump’s eponymous philanthropic foundation has been ordered to stop soliciting funds in the state of New York by that state’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman. The letter, which the AG’s office sent on Friday, said that its charities bureau had determined that the Donald J. Trump Foundation had been fundraising in New York this year when it had not registered for that purpose.

“The Trump Foundation must immediately cease soliciting contributions or engaging in any other fundraising activities in New York,” wrote the chief of the charities bureau, James Sheehan, in what looks like a relatively standard form letter.

“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,” Hope Hicks, Mr. Trump’s spokeswoman, said in a statement on Monday. “Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time.”

Although the Trump campaign claims that political motives are running the day in terms of Schneiderman’s recent vow to inquire into the Donald J. Trump foundation, you could not really say that the charity office’s activism vis-à-vis this particular foundation is unusual or focused only on Republican-associated nonprofits. In fact, NPQ has published reports on any number of actions the attorney general has taken to better regulate and hold accountable that state’s nonprofits. (See here and here for just some of those stories.)

But again, this is only one of a number of recent revelations about violations of ethics and law at the Donald J. Trump Foundation. It is also worth noting that many states have similar fundraising registration requirements, so New York may not be the last state to send the foundation this demand to comply.

To remind readers of the context, NPQ’s recent update on the regulatory environment notes that states are becoming more active in regulating nonprofits, though that activity manifests in a variety of ways. New York is on the far end of activist in all of this—and that, overall, has been a good thing.—Ruth McCambridge