- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 24, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump intends to shutter his personal charity and divvy up its assets amid ongoing concerns regarding the potential conflicts of interest and ethics violations that could arise after he takes office next month, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Mr. Trump and unidentified aides to the president-elect have recently conceded that “he intends to distribute the assets of his personal charity and then shutter it,” the Times reported Saturday.

The charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, was established in 1988 in order to distribute proceeds of the New York businessman’s best-selling book, “Trump: The Art of the Deal.” Nearly 30 years later, however, its operations became a lightning rod for criticism during the course of Mr. Trump’s successful White House campaign.

In June, prior to securing the GOP’s nod, the Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump had donated only about $2.8 million through his charity during the previous 15 years — less than a third of the amount he had pledged — and had gone years without contributing personal funds to his own foundation.

Additionally, the New York Attorney General’s Office has for several months been investigating the charity for any potential violations.

“We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it’s complying with the laws governing charities in New York,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told CNN in September.

Amid that investigation, however, concerns have swelled in recent weeks over the future of the foundation as Mr. Trump prepares to take the oath of office on Jan. 20.

According to the New York Times report, the recent decision to shutter the charity comes as Mr. Trump and his family make a last-minute dash to resolve any potential controversies that could give way after his inauguration next month.

“I certainly can’t deny there is a greater desire to sort of clear the decks as much as possible to avoid distractions,” Alan Garten, the general counsel at the Trump Organization, the president-elect’s business conglomerate, told the Times.

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