Published: Fri, November 08, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump Misused Campaign Funds, Ordered To Pay $2M to Settle Civil Suit

Trump Misused Campaign Funds, Ordered To Pay $2M to Settle Civil Suit

A NY judge on Thursday ordered Donald Trump to pay $2 million for using his former charity to further his political and business interests, adding to the president's legal woes.

That agreement also saw "the resolution of damages for alleged waste resulting from improper uses of Foundation assets, except for those arising out of the allegedly improper use of the Foundation and distribution of the $2,823,000 received by the Foundation ('Funds') from Mr. Trump's televised fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016", the judge said in the order (pdf).

The Trump Foundation said in a statement that it was "pleased to donate an additional $2 million" to what it called "worthy organizations".

Attorney General Letitia James was seeking a total of $2.8 million in restitution from the foundation, but State Supreme Court Judge Saliann Scarpulla cut that down to $2 million. He and his lawyers have blasted the lawsuit as politically motivated, and he tweeted, "I won't settle this case!" when it was filed in June 2018.

"Mr Trump owed fiduciary duties to the Foundation", Scarpulla wrote in an order, meaning duties to safeguard the foundation's money.

Among other things, the judge ruled that Trump improperly allowed his presidential campaign staff to work with the foundation in holding a fundraiser for veterans' charities in the run-up to the 2016 Iowa caucuses. "My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law - not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States".

Trump's fine and the charity's funds will be split evenly among eight organizations, including City Meals-on-Wheels, the United Negro College Fund and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Law & Crime, Mediaite's sister website, obtained a press release from New York Attorney General Letitia James, which says "Mr. Trump admits to personally misusing funds at the Trump Foundation, and agrees to restrictions on future charitable service and ongoing reporting to the Office of the Attorney General in the event he creates a new charity". The funds will be directed to a group of nonprofits, as the foundation has been defunct since December 2018. Along with the foundation and Trump, the suit named his children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Trump.

"CREW first identified illegal behavior by the Trump [Foundation] when it gave an impermissible $25,000 political donation to support Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi while her office was reportedly considering joining a New York Attorney General suit against the Trump University", Bookbinder noted.

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