Trump Again Illegally Used Nonprofit Money

The legal jeopardy Donald Trump is facing a week from today when he no longer can hide behind the presidential shield has been mounting in recent weeks. On Monday it grew even more. Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has filed new charges alleging that Trump’s private business illegally used funds from the president’s nonprofit inaugural committee to pay an overdue $49,000 hotel bill.

That new charge is added to the legal action filed against Trump’s inaugural committee that alleged it wasted donors’ money by paying way beyond market rate for space in Trump’s D.C. hotel that it never used. It also fits the same pattern of the president using nonprofit money for his own benefit.

In 2018, the New York attorney general sued Trump for using another tax-exempt charity — the Donald J. Trump Foundation — to pay $258,000 in legal settlements for his for profit businesses, to boost his 2016 campaign and to buy a painting of himself. That case ended with a judge ordering Trump to pay $2 million in damages and being forced to permanently shut down the charity.

In the new filing, Racine alleges that a Trump Organization employee, who was an assistant to Donald Trump Jr., reserved a number of rooms at the Loews Madison Hotel, which is located a few blocks from the White House. The hotel sent the Trump Organization a $49,358.92 bill for the room in January 2017 but it went unpaid. In July, when it was still unpaid, a collections agency contacted the president’s inaugural committee to ask if it would pay the overdue bill. Rick Gates who was an official with the inaugural committee, directed the nonprofit to pay the bill.

“The Trump Organization was liable for the invoiced charges,” Racine’s office said in the filing. “The [Inaugural Committee’s] payment of the invoice was unfair, unreasonable and unjustified and ultimately conferred improper private benefit to the Trump Organization.

Racine has asked a D.C. Superior Court Judge to direct that all of this money — the $1 million paid to Trump’s hotel, and the $49,000 used to pay off the Trump Organization’s debts — be given to charity.

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