Donald Trump and his family are in deep trouble. He may have found a method of subverting the Democrats in the House of Representatives — totally ignore their subpoenas and refuse to allow any present or past White House staff members to testify. Never mind that all of these people would face up to five years in prison and a fine. Regardless, it appears, there is a storm about to break in POTUS’s life, and he has no way to avoid the ultimate storm maker, New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The night she won her campaign for New York state’s Attorney General, James said:
‘I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings, and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn.’
James filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for Trump’s tax returns and other financial records. Her office also subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank in March 2019 for financial documents. The subpoenas read that she was requesting:
‘(L)oan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and other records of financial transactions in connection to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, the Trump National Doral in South Florida and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.’
The NY AG tweeted:
‘We’ve filed a lawsuit against the Trump Treasury Department & IRS for failing to respond to records requests as required by law. The agency eliminated donor disclosure requirements for tax-exempt groups & refuses to comply w/the law to explain the rationale for these changes. We’ve filed a lawsuit against the Trump Treasury Department & IRS for failing to respond to records requests as required by law. The agency eliminated donor disclosure requirements for tax-exempt groups & refuses to comply w/the law to explain the rationale for these changes.’
Donald Trump and his people have been firmly resisting these requests. However, the president sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One with the intention of blocking the House subpoenas for the same materials.
Both James and New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed lawsuits in tandem. The New York attorney general said:
‘My office depends on these critical donor disclosure forms to be able to adequately oversee non-rpofit organizations in New York. Not only was this policy change made without notice, the Treasury and the IRS are now refusing to comply with the law to release information about the rationale for these changes. No one is above the law – not even the federal government – and we will use every tool to ensure they comply with these regulations to provide transparency and accountability.’
Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood took Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s place, when he resigned in May 2018. He was appointed by President Barack Obama.
Underwood filed a related lawsuit against Donald Trump Sr., Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. that read, according to her press release Underwood’s lawsuit alleged:
‘(A) pattern of persistent illegal conduct occurring over more than a decade, that includes 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. The Attorney General initiated a special proceeding to dissolve the Trump Foundation under court supervision and obtain restitution of $2.8 million and additional penalties.’
‘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. 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.’
The Trump Foundation raised over $2.8 million to influence the 2016 presidential election. The foundation has been controlled by the “senior leadership of the Trump campaign.” When he was in Iowa, he skipped the Republican primary debate. Instead, he held a nationally televised fundraiser. That violated both state and federal laws, because the senior campaign staff worked with the foundation representative including then campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
In addition, the Trump Foundation used the foundation to finance at least five transactions benefitting his businesses:
- ‘(A) $100,000 payment to settle legal claims against Mr. Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort
- a $158,000 payment to settle legal claims against his Trump National Golf Club in 2008 from a hole-in-one tournament and
- a $10,000 payment at a charity auction to purchase a painting of Mr. Trump that was displayed at the Trump National Doral in Miami.’
When the attorney general began her investigation, Trump’s foundation paid ‘excise taxes on three of the transaction” and restored all of the funds. However, Trump’s organization did not pay excise taxes on Mar-a-Lago or Trump National Golf Club transactions.
The foundation’s board of directors approved the payments or events, but the so-called “board of directors” did not really exist. After 1999, it never met, set criteria for choosing how the grants was spent, or approve any grants:
‘Mr. Trump alone made all decisions related to the Foundation.’
The attorney general’s lawsuit has asked for a court order to dissolve the foundation. She contacted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to detail how the attorney general concluded:
‘These letters set forth in specific detail the underlying facts that have led the Attorney General to conclude that additional investigation and potential further legal action by these federal authorities are warranted.’