US President Donald Trump walks after arriving on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, April 28, 2017.
SAUL LOEB

Trump tries to shut down scandal-plagued charitable foundation

One of the 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.

Donald Trump used his charitable foundation money to buy giant portraits of himself. He also used foundation money to make illegal campaign contributions, settle private-sector lawsuits, and support conservative political entities that could help further his partisan ambitions.

About a year ago, we learned that the Trump Foundation admitted in official documents that “it violated a legal prohibition against ‘self-dealing,’ which bars nonprofit leaders from using their charity’s money to help themselves, their businesses or their families.”

Making matters slightly worse, the president has been caught lying about all of this, arguing publicly that “all” of the money the the foundation raised was “given to charity.” He added soon after that “100%” of the millions raised went to “wonderful charities.” Neither claim was consistent with reality.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/20/17, 9:05 PM ET

Trump to close self-dealing charity pending investigation

Rachel Maddow reports that Donald Trump intends to shut down his disgraced eponymous charitable foundation, but can’t actually do so while the foundation remains under criminal investigation.
Nearly a year later, as Rachel noted on last night’s show, the president is trying to close the foundation’s doors.

President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation, which last year admitted violating federal rules on “self-dealing,” is in the process of dissolving, according to newly filed documents reviewed by NBC News. […]

At the end of 2016, the foundation had assets of about $970,000, the document shows.

There is, however, a catch. I said Trump is “trying” to close the charitable foundation because the process is a little more difficult in this case than the president would probably like.

NBC News’ report noted that the New York Attorney General’s Charities Division is currently investigating Trump’s foundation, which means the president and his team can’t close its doors just yet. A spokesperson for the state A.G. explained, “As the foundation is still under investigation by this office, it cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete.”

What’s more, there’s no reason to assume that the investigation will end anytime soon. On the contrary, new details surrounding Trump’s charitable foundation continue to come to light: the Washington Post reported yesterday, “One of President Trump’s golf courses paid back more than $158,000 to Trump’s charitable foundation this year, reimbursing the charity for money that had been used to settle a lawsuit against the club, according to a new tax filing.”

Donald Trump

Trump tries to shut down scandal-plagued charitable foundation