One of the great ironies of the 2016 presidential campaign is that voters were led to believe that of the two major-party candidates, Hillary Clinton was the one with the controversial charitable foundation. Given the many alarming questions surrounding Donald Trump's charitable foundation, the conventional wisdom had it backwards.
And as it turns out, it may have been vastly worse than we knew.
Last fall, Trump's foundation took steps toward dissolution, but it ran into some trouble. The New York Attorney General's Charities Division explained at the time that it was investigating the foundation, and the president's entity couldn't formally dissolve until that probe ran its course.
That was eight months ago. As an NBC News' report makes clear, investigators have now wrapped up their examination, and they apparently found quite a bit.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood sued President Donald Trump and his charitable foundation on Thursday, alleging that the president and his adult children illegally used the private foundation for personal, business, and political expenses.
The lawsuit alleges illegal activity that took place over more than a decade, including "extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump's personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations," according to a statement from the attorney general's office.
The suit accuses the president, along with Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr., of violating multiple counts of state and federal law. Foundation funds were used to pay off Trump family legal obligations, promote Trump businesses, purchase personal items, and influence the president's 2016 campaign, the suit said.
The full 41-page court filing is online here (pdf). The president has already published a couple of tweets complaining about the allegations and vowing not to settle the case.
The Trump Foundation also criticized the filing, though in an amusing twist, the foundation accused of improperly being controlled by the Trump Organization responded to the allegations by issuing a statement through the Trump Organization's email account.