New York’s Attorney General Has Opened an Inquiry Into Donald Trump’s Charity

The state’s top lawyer is looking into the inner workings of the candidate’s vanity foundation.

Evan Vucci/AP

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened an inquiry into Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s charity following questions over whether the foundation has complied with state law. 

The scrutiny comes in light of recent investigations by the Washington Post and Associated Press that shed light into the inner workings of the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump, who founded the charity in 1987 and has claimed to have donated millions from his own pocket, had not contributed to his foundation since 2008. Instead, the Post found, Trump’s foundation received millions of dollars from donors, which it doled out under its own name.

In 2009, Trump reportedly spent $20,000 meant for charitable purposes on a six-foot-tall painting of himself. In 2013, the Trump Foundation gave $25,000 to a political group associated with Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi. That gift, which was illegal, resulted in a $2,500 penalty payment to the Internal Revenue Service. House Democrats have called for a federal criminal investigation into the transaction.

Schneiderman told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday that his office was looking into Trump’s charity out of concern it had “engaged in some impropriety” in its operations. “We’ve inquired into it, and we’ve had correspondence with them,” he said. “I didn’t make a big deal out of it or hold a press conference. We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it’s complying with the laws governing charities in New York.”

Schneiderman is also challenging Trump in a lawsuit alleging that Trump University, the mogul’s defunct real-estate seminar, engaged in “persistent fraudulent, illegal and deceptive conduct.”


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.