Donald Trump has announced plans to shutter his troubled foundation, according to a statement from the president-elect. The announcement, which was made on Christmas Eve, came amid growing concerns of Trump’s many business interests around the world, and the ethical conflict they’ll pose (and have already posed) once Trump is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
The Trump Foundation itself was a source of ongoing controversy, thanks to the unusual way it collected and donated other people’s money over the years. It’s also been under investigation by New York’s attorney general over allegations that Trump used funds from the charity to resolve various lawsuits facing his other business enterprises. In his statement, Trump avoided any mention of the investigation, which is still ongoing according to a spokeswoman for the Attorney General.
‘‘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,’’ Trump said in his statement. ‘‘However, to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as president I have decided to continue to pursue my strong interest in philanthropy in other ways.’’
Some of the charity’s more notable donors include Vince and Linda McMahon, who contributed five million over the course of two years. “I am very proud of the money that has been raised for many organizations in need, and I am also very proud of the fact that The Foundation has operated at essentially no cost for decades, with 100 percent of the money going to charity," Trump said on Saturday.
The timing of Trump’s announcement is suspect considering the ongoing investigation into The Foundation, and this could be his way of ridding himself of an entity that might pose legal problems for him in the future. A statement from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office made it clear that Trump cannot legally dissolve his statement “until that investigation is complete.”
Trump did not give an exact timeline for when he plans to fully dissolve The Foundation.