ALBANY - New York's attorney general is seeking to shut down President Donald Trump's charitable foundation, accusing the president of using the charity to advance his self-interests and boost his 2016 presidential campaign.
The lawsuit from Attorney General Barbara Underwood, filed Thursday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, lists a wide array of apparent law-breaking over more than a decade and asks a judge to force the foundation, Trump and his family to pay $2.8 million in restitution.
In particular, the lawsuit takes issue with the Trump Foundation's Iowa fundraiser for veterans organizations on Jan. 28, 2016, which came in the days before the Iowa caucuses.
The suit claims the event was largely run by Trump's campaign staff, which directed where the funds were went. When Trump issued enlarged checks to the veterans organizations, they had his "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan on the bottom.
New York law prohibits charities from participating in political events.
“As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Underwood said in a statement. “This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the Foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”
Underwood's lawsuit accuses the foundation of illegally coordinating with Trump's presidential campaign, "repeated and willful self-dealing transactions" and failing to follow basic laws related to its finances over more than a decade.
Trump wasted little time responding to the lawsuit, taking to Twitter to vow he would not settle the case.
He called the case "ridiculous" and laid blame with former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a frequent Trump foe who resigned in disgrace last month after he was accused of physically abusing multiple women.
"The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000," Trump wrote. "I won’t settle this case!"
Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump are also named as defendants in the suit.