President-elect Donald Trump says he will dissolve his charitable foundation before taking office to avoid conflicts of interest. The Democratic Party says that’s not enough and is calling for the billionaire businessman to put his assets in a blind trust.
The New York attorney general’s office has been investigating the foundation following media reports that foundation spending went to benefit Trump’s campaign. A spokeswoman says the foundation cannot close until the investigation is complete.
Trump said in a statement Saturday that he has directed his counsel to take the necessary steps to implement the dissolution of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, saying that it operated “at essentially no cost for decades, with 100 per cent of the money going to charity.”
“The foundation has done enormous good works over the years in contributing millions of dollars to countless worthy groups, including supporting veterans, law enforcement officers and children,” he said in a statement.
“I will be devoting so much time and energy to the presidency and solving the many problems facing our country and the world. I don’t want to allow good work to be associated with a possible conflict of interest,” he said.
Trump said he will pursue philanthropic efforts in other ways, but he didn’t elaborated on how he’d do so.
The Democratic National Committee criticized Trump for what it called “a wilted fig leaf to cover up his remaining conflicts of interest and his pitiful record of charitable giving.”
The statement from party spokesman Eric Walker also took a jab at the president-elect over his controversial business holdings: “Shuttering a charity is no substitute for divesting from his for-profit business and putting the assets in a blind trust — the only way to guarantee separation between the Trump administration and the Trump business.”
A 2015 tax return posted on the non-profit monitoring website GuideStar shows the Donald J. Trump Foundation acknowledged that it used money or assets in violation of IRS regulations — not only during 2015, but in prior years.