President Trump this week paid $2 million he owed as a result of a court-ordered settlement with the State of New York for his alleged misuse of funds from the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
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New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the action on Tuesday. Her office would continue to make sure that no one, including the president, is given preferential treatment under U.S. law, she said.
“Not only has the Trump Foundation shut down for its misconduct, but the president has been forced to pay $2 million for misusing charitable funds for his own political gain,” James said in a statement.
A Manhattan Supreme Court Justice determined that Trump had “breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation” by allegedly allowing funds from his foundation to be used to further his 2016 political campaign, including for a purported 2016 fundraiser that was a campaign event.
A lawsuit was filed against the Trump Foundation in June 2018. Trump was forced to reimburse $10,000 to the foundation to pay for a portrait of himself he used foundation funds to pay for. He will also be required to reimburse the foundation more than $11,500 for sports gear and champagne purchased at a charity gala.
The foundation, which has $1.78 million in assets, dissolved last December under court supervision. Those funds, in addition to the $2 million that will be paid by Trump are set to be disbursed among eight charities.
As previously reported by FOX Business, a 2015 IRS filing called into question just how charitable the Trump Foundation actually was. The forms revealed the foundation admitted to violating the legal ban on “self-dealing,” meaning the charity’s funds were improperly used by an insider, their friends or family members.
The Washington Post had previously reported on use of the foundation’s funds to purchase items at charity auctions.
The foundation had paid penalties in the past, including a $2,500 fine for illegally giving $25,000 to Pam Biondi’s campaign for Florida attorney general in 2013. At the time, Biondi was allegedly deciding whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University, which she ultimately declined to follow through on.
At the end of 2015, the Trump Foundation had $1.1 million; throughout the year the foundation took in $781,000 while giving away $896,000. The charity received $566,370 from the Trump Corporation in 2015, the first time an organization fully owned by the businessman had donated to the foundation since 2008.
Meanwhile, House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.