The New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded lawsuit on Thursday that accuses the Donald J. Trump Foundation and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign, reports the New York Times. The lawsuit, which seeks to dissolve the foundation and bar President Trump and three of his children from serving on the boards of nonprofits, was an extraordinary rebuke of a sitting president. The attorney general also sent referral letters to the IRS and the Federal Election Commission for possible further action, adding to Trump’s extensive legal problems.
The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, culminated a nearly two-year investigation of Trump’s charity, which became a subject of scrutiny during the 2016 presidential campaign. While such foundations are supposed to be devoted to charitable activities, the complaint asserts that Trump’s was often used to curry political favor or settle legal claims against his various businesses, and even spent $10,000 on a portrait of Trump that was hung at one of his golf clubs. The portrait was one of several examples of the foundation being used in “at least five self-dealing transactions,” according to the attorney general’s office, violating tax regulations that prohibit using nonprofit charities for private interests.