Yashwant Raj: WASHINGTON: As Donald Trump has tried to defend his record as a successful businessman in light
of reports that he used losses of nearly $1 billion to not pay income tax, he was on Monday instructed to stop collecting contributions for his foundation, topping off a particularly dismal run in recent days.
The New York attorney general’s office said it had issued instructions that the Trump Foundation “must immediately cease soliciting contributions or engaging in any other fund-raising activities in New York”.
The order came a day after The Washington Post, which has done a string of exposes on Trump’s charities, reported that the foundation had not registered itself with the state and had thus escaped the intense scrutiny faced by such bodies that solicit and accept donations from the public, specially in New York.
The foundation has been instructed to file the necessary paperwork in the next 15 days, and runs the risk of being declared a “fraud” if it as found in non-compliance. The Trump campaign has called the action politically motivated. The attorney general has endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Last week, The New York Times reported Trump suffered financial losses of $916 million in 1996, which it said he used to not pay taxes for 18 years.
Trump’s surrogates have called him a “genius” for it, while critics such as Clinton have questioned how a “genius” could have lost nearly a $1 billion in a year.
The disclosure about the foundation couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for the Trump campaign as vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence goes up against his Democratic rival Tim Kaine in the election’s solitary VP debate on Tuesday. Pence’s list of things to defend for the main name on the ticket, Trump, grew a bit longer.