NY sues to dissolve Trump Foundation, cites illegal conduct

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New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Thursday filed a lawsuit against President Trump, his foundation and his three eldest children - seeking to dissolve the charity after what she called its "persistent illegal conduct" over more than a decade.

Barbara Underwood said the charitable foundation had engaged in "unlawful political coordination" created to influence the 2016 election.

A section of the New York State lawsuit against the Trump Foundation
A section of the New York State lawsuit against the Trump Foundation

"Our investigation found that the Trump Foundation raised in excess of $2.8 million in a manner created to influence the 2016 presidential election at the direct and under the control of the senior leadership of the Trump presidential campaign", the attorney general said.

NY is also seeking $2.8 million of restitution plus penalties, a 10-year ban on Trump serving as a director of a NY nonprofit, and one-year bans for his children Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka.

Trump began tweeting soon after the charges were filed, dismissing the lawsuit as the work of "the sleazy New York Democrats" and claiming the foundation "took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000". Schneiderman ordered the foundation to stop fundraising in NY.

Trump Foundation "was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their goal or legality", Democratic Attorney General Barbara Underwood said as she sued to dissolve the foundation and seek $2.8 million in restitution. "I won't settle this case!". Allegations of misdeeds connected to the Trump Foundation had swirled during the 2016 presidential elections, but the topic had been overshadowed during the early days of the Trump presidency. She also asked that Trump be banned from heading any other nonprofits in NY for the next decade. Underwood said she has sent letters to the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission for further investigation.

The foundation could not immediately be reached for comment. The AG's office wants the foundation dissolved.

The foundation's mission says its funds are to be used "exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational purposes", either directly or through other organizations, according to the court filing.