Trump Foundation comes under investigation over £19k donation

Ivanka Trump looks on as her father Donald Trump, speaks. Picture: Getty Images
Ivanka Trump looks on as her father Donald Trump, speaks. Picture: Getty Images
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New York’s attorney general has said he is investigating Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s foundation over a donation made to a political group.

Democrats in the House have called for a federal criminal investigation into the $25,000 (£19,000) donation to a group backing Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013.

It came at a time that her office said it was weighing up opening a fraud investigation into Trump University after former students claimed they were scammed.

That investigation never happened, though Bondi denies his donation played any role in that decision.

In a letter that all 16 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sent to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, John Conyers of Michigan said federal investigators should determine whether the 2013 donation violated federal bribery or tax laws.

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr confirmed receipt of the letter, but declined to comment on it.

Bondi has endorsed Trump’s presidential bid and has appeared with him this year on the campaign trail. She has said the timing of Trump’s donation was coincidental and that she wasn’t personally aware of the consumer complaints her office had received about Trump University and the Trump Institute, a separate Florida business that licensed the Trump name and curriculum.

Neither company was still offering seminars by the time Bondi took office in 2011, though dissatisfied former customers were still seeking promised refunds.

Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed that Trump and Bondi spoke before his charity donated to a group supporting her candidacy, but said they didn’t discuss any potential lawsuit.

In an interview on Tuesday on CNN, Schneiderman, a Democrat who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, said his office has been looking into the Trump Foundation to determine whether it has complied with New York laws governing non-profits.

“We have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view. And we’ve inquired into it, and we’ve had correspondence with them,” Schneiderman said.

Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller dismissed Schneiderman’s inquiry as politically motivated.

“Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is a partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President,” Miller said in a written statement.

The Trump Foundation on its 2013 tax return then incorrectly reported that the $25,000 was paid not to the pro-Bondi political group, but to a similarly-named charity in Kansas.

The Washington Post first reported that Trump’s charity paid an IRS penalty of $2,500 (£1,895) earlier this year, following media reports about the 2013 donation.