New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office on Monday ordered the Donald J. Trump Foundation to “immediately cease soliciting contributions” after a report that the charity lacked the proper authorization to seek public donations.
"The Attorney General's office is the sole regulator of charities in New York State, and when evidence of clear misconduct is brought to our attention, we take action,” a spokesman for the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
The “Notice of Violation” letter obtained by NBC News warned that the charity “shall be deemed a continuing fraud upon the people of New York” unless it provided required paperwork regarding its fundraising activities within the next 15 days.
The move comes after the Washington Post reported last week that the foundation lacked a required state certification that would allow it to request funding from the public. Trump organized a veterans event after canceling a primary debate appearance in January and collected $1.67 million through a website directing donations to the Trump Foundation.
Schneiderman recently announced he had opened an inquiry into Trump’s Foundation, which has faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks on several fronts.
The IRS fined Trump earlier this year for using his charity to donate $25,000 to a political organization for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and reporting in its public forms that the money was for a similarly named charity instead. Non-profits are not allowed to make political contributions and the donation came as Bondi’s office was reportedly looking into the now-defunct Trump University, which currently faces a lawsuit from Schneiderman’s office. Both Bondi and Trump have denied the contribution was connected to the case.
More recently, the Washington Post reported that Trump used his foundation to help settle a series of lawsuits against his private businesses, a move that experts say may have violated laws on “self-dealing.”
The Trump campaign has previously denounced Schneiderman, a Democrat supporting Hillary Clinton for president, as a "partisan hack," but used more measured language in its response on Monday.
"While we remain very concerned about the political motives behind AG Schneiderman's investigation, the Trump Foundation nevertheless intends to cooperate fully with the investigation," Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement on Monday. "Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time."