For more information on the Trump Foundation see earlier posting: http://boonecountywatchdog.blogspot.com/2016/09/how-donald-trump-retooled-his-charity.html
AARON KATERSKY and TOM LIDDY,Good Morning America 1 hour 16 minutes ago
The New York State attorney general's office has opened a broad inquiry into the Trump Foundation, the office confirms.
The inquiry concerns, among other things, Donald Trump buying a portrait of himself and a donation to a group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Trump supporter, according to a source in the office.
The question is whether Trump Foundation made accurate disclosures, a source said. Further details about the portrait and other donations were not immediately available.
The contribution to Bondi's fundraising committee has drawn scrutiny because her office declined to join a lawsuit against Trump regarding his now-shuttered school, Trump University.
The Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, a Hillary Clinton supporter, is pursuing litigation against Trump over Trump University, accusing him of “mis[leading] consumers into paying for a series of expensive courses that did not deliver on their promises.”
Trump has denied the allegations and both he and Bondi have denied any impropriety over the contribution. But Trump did pay a $2,500 penalty to the IRS this year because charities are not allowed to give to political causes.
In a statement Tuesday night, the Trump campaign blasted the inquiry.
"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," Jason Miller, a Trump adviser, said in a statement. "This is nothing more than another left-wing hit job designed to distract from Crooked Hillary Clinton’s disastrous week.”
According to a June 9 letter from the AG's office to Trump, the office requested information about a $25,000 contribution to And Justice for All made in 2013, a political organization affiliated with Bondi.
In a response on July 25, the Trump Foundation said that the contribution was "mistakenly made from the Foundation" and instead came from Trump's personal funds. The foundation said that it incorrectly believed the organization receiving the money was a 501(c)(3) charity.
"Once Mr. Trump learned of the mistake from the news media, he publicly acknowledged the mistake and promptly took corrective action," the letter reads, including reimbursing the foundation $25,000. (p. 20)
The foundation said that it would train its staff and officers "to ensure that it will not use any of its funds for political purposes in the future," according to a July 15 letter from the AG's office to the foundation. (Last letter)
Schneiderman announced his lawsuit against Trump University on Aug. 25, 2013. The next month, Bondi's office announced that it was reviewing the litigation. But shortly after that announcement, And Justice for All received the contribution.
Bondi's office decided not to go forward with the complaint.
"I never, nor was my office, investigating him. Never. I would never lie. I would never take money. I've been obviously devastated over this," she said in a voice mail message to a Tampa Bay Times reporter this past June.
Trump recently said he never discussed the suit with Bondi's office.
This is a developing story. Please check back in for updates.
Here is NBC’s Coverage on the same issue
The office of New York state's top prosecutor has made inquiries into Donald Trump's nonprofit foundation after questions about impropriety.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed the inquiry on Tuesday, telling CNN that "we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety," although he did not go into detail.
"We've inquired into it and we've had correspondence with them," Schneiderman said. "I didn't make a big deal out of it or hold a press conference. We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it's complying with the laws governing charities in New York."
The Attorney General's Office later told NBC News that correspondence with the foundation began on June 9.
In response to the news, Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller released a statement calling Schneiderman "a partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President."
He also called the inquiry a "left-wing hit job."
The New York Attorney General's Charities Bureau, which oversees regulating nonprofits in the state, has asked about a $25,000 donation the Trump Foundation made in September 2013 to "And Justice for All" — a political group connected to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
All nonprofits are barred from making politically-related contributions.
The Trump Foundation had 20 days to answer the Charities Bureau's letter. While the Trump campaign has previously declined to comment about the case, Trump during a campaign stop Monday in Ohio dismissed questions about the contribution, according to The Washington Post.
Trump paid a $2,500 penalty for failing to disclose the gift to the Internal Revenue Service, and representatives for the Trump Organization said he also paid back $25,000 to the foundation after the media began asking questions, the newspaper reported.
Trump Foundation treasurer Allen Weisselberg wrote in a June 28 letter to the attorney general that the error was first realized in March and was a "case of mistaken identity involving organizations with the same name."
Other questions by the attorney general had to do with the Trump Foundation supposedly paying $20,000 for a six-foot-tall portrait of Trump and four separate charities claiming they never received donations that the foundation said it gifted them.
The amounts that the foundation said it donated included a $10,000 contribution in 2008, $5,000 in 2010 and $10,000 in 2012, according to The Post, which reported about the discrepancies last week.
The portrait was referenced by President Barack Obama on Tuesday while he stumped for Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia.
"One candidate's family foundation has saved countless lives around the world," Obama said, referring to the Democratic presidential nominee's own charitable foundation run with former President Bill Clinton.
"The other candidate's foundation took money other people gave to his charity and then bought a 6-foot-tall painting of himself. I mean, he had the taste not to go for the 10-foot version," Obama quipped.
Schneiderman, a Democrat who has endorsed Hillary Clinton and raised money for her campaign, has previously gone after one of Trump's ventures.
In 2013, he filed a $40 million civil lawsuit against Trump University claiming the online school had fleeced would-be real estate investors.
That trial is going forward, and another fraud trial against Trump University in a San Diego court is scheduled to begin Nov. 28.