Sunday 25 August 2019

New probe to block Trump's bid to shut charity

Mr Trump had announced he would dissolve the Donald J Trump Foundation as part of what his presidential transition team says is an effort to erase any potential conflicts of interest before he takes office. Photo: REUTERS
Mr Trump had announced he would dissolve the Donald J Trump Foundation as part of what his presidential transition team says is an effort to erase any potential conflicts of interest before he takes office. Photo: REUTERS

Vivian Salama

Donald Trump has been blocked from shutting down his under-fire charity foundation because prosecutors are probing whether the president-elect personally benefited from its spending.

"The Trump Foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," said a spokeswoman for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Mr Trump had announced he would dissolve the Donald J Trump Foundation as part of what his presidential transition team says is an effort to erase any potential conflicts of interest before he takes office.

But the foundation's inner workings have been the subject of Mr Schneiderman's investigation for months and could remain a thorny issue for Mr Trump's incoming administration. Democrats have said they are ready to raise any legal or ethical issues from the tycoon's global business empire during his presidency.

The charity has admitted it violated Internal Revenue Service regulations barring it from using its money or assets to benefit Mr Trump, his family, his companies or substantial contributors to the foundation.

The admissions by the Donald J Trump Foundation were in a 2015 tax filing made public after a presidential election in which it was revealed that Mr Trump has used the charity to settle lawsuits, make a $25,000 (€24,000) political contribution and buy items, such as a painting of himself, that was displayed at one of his properties.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has tapped an experienced national security adviser to serve as assistant to the president-elect for homeland security and counter-terrorism.

Mr Trump's transition team said Thomas Bossert would advise the president on issues related to homeland security, counter-terrorism, and cybersecurity, and he would co-ordinate the cabinet's process for formulating and executing policy.

Mr Trump has also continued to question the effectiveness of the United Nations, saying that it is just a club for people to "have a good time", after the UN Security Council voted last week to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Mr Trump warned: "As to the UN, things will be different after January 20," referring to the day he takes office.

Irish Independent

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