(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Philip Hackney, University of Pittsburgh

(THE CONVERSATION) The Donald J. Trump Foundation is now defunct and the state of New York has ordered the president to give US$2 million to a group of nonprofits out of his own pocket as restitution for breaking the law by misusing charitable funds.

I’m an expert on charitable tax law who used to work at the Internal Revenue Service. I find Trump’s admissions of impropriety in the settlement to a lawsuit New York authorities filed against him startling. But although this saga may appear to have concluded, I don’t believe that the full repercussions of his legal woes have become clear.


New York Supreme Court Judge Saliann Scarpulla found that four members of the Trump family and their fellow officers and directors violated their fiduciary duties to avoid the illegal practice of “self-dealing” – when the people who run a charity benefit from it – and broke other rules and regulations.

Trump served as the foundation’s president for three decades after its 1987 founding. He abdicated that role three days after his inauguration.

Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. all belonged to the Trump Foundation board, which never met between 1999 and 2018, although Ivanka stepped down during when she joined the Trump administration. According to the settlement made public on Nov. 7, the directors also failed to “provide oversight, set policy or approve the direction, operations or acts of the foundation.”

The Trump Foundation, among other misdeeds, improperly spent $250,000 to settle the legal disputes incurred by the Trump family’s business dealings.

Trump also used $25,000 in...

Full article