Saturday, September 10, 2016

Trump Charity Gave $100,000 to Citizens United That Helped Fund Lawsuit Against Foe

Trump’s Charitable Foundation gave $100,000 in 2014 to a Conservative Activist Group that was used to help finance a Federal lawsuit against New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the same Public Official who was suing the real estate mogul for fraud over the operations of Trump University.

The size and timing of the donation to the Citizens United Foundation, an arm of the sprawling Conservative network run by David Bossie, who is now Trump’s Deputy Campaign Manager, could raise fresh questions about whether Trump has used his Tax-Exempt Charity to further political and personal causes.

It is a claim, actively promoted by Clinton’s campaign, that got new attention this week after Trump’s Foundation acknowledged paying a penalty to the IRS for an improper $25,000 donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Reelection Campaign during a time her office was considering whether to join Schneiderman’s lawsuit against Trump University.

A review of tax returns filed by the Trump Foundation shows that the 2014 donation to Bossie’s Citizens United Foundation was by far the largest it gave to any organization that year, substantially exceeding its contributions to more traditional charities, such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (which got $50,000), the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ($25,000) and the Police Athletic League ($25,000).

It was also the first time the Citizens United Foundation had ever received funding from Trump’s charity.

While the donation to Bossie’s group has been mentioned in some media accounts, what has gone unnoticed until now is a major project of Citizens United at the time: a lawsuit it filed that year, since dismissed by a Federal Judge, against Schneiderman, New York’s Democratic Attorney General, over his efforts to require Nonprofit Groups such as Citizens United to disclose the identity of their donors under seal to the New York State Charities Bureau.

Schneiderman by then had become a major political nemesis of Trump. In 2013, Schneiderman had filed his own lawsuit, still pending in New York State Courts, accusing Trump of ripping off students at Trump University through fraudulent and deceptive trade practices, promising to teach them to “make a killing” in the real estate market but, according to the suit, delivering courses that had little if any value.

Trump, in response, launched a public relations and legal counterattack against Schneiderman. He accused him in a Twitter barrage of being a “lightweight hack” who brought the suit for political purposes. He filed a complaint against Schneiderman with the New York Ethics Agency, also dismissed, over donations the Attorney General had solicited from his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, while his office was investigating Trump University. Trump, in a later interview, described Schneiderman as “a low-life, a sleazebag” who was part of a “cesspool of corruption” in New York politics.

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