- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Democratic attorney general of New York who has opened investigations of climate fraud against oil companies picked a new target Tuesday — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said during an appearance on CNN on Tuesday afternoon that he was concerned that the Donald J. Trump Foundation was breaking laws and regulations related to charitable groups.

According to multiple news outlets shortly afterward, Mr. Schneiderman formally opened an investigation despite having declined to investigate the Clinton Foundation and having endorsed Mrs. Clinton for president.

“My interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of nonprofits in New York state. And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view,” Mr. Schneiderman told CNN’s “The Lead” program Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Schneiderman said that while his office “didn’t make a big deal out of it or hold a press conference,” it already had looked into some of the claims against the Trump Foundation and had addressed concerns to the foundation. Correspondence posted by reporters indicate exchanges going back to June.

Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller denounced Mr. Schneiderman in a statement, calling him “a partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

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“This is nothing more than another left-wing hit job designed to distract from Crooked Hillary Clinton’s disastrous week,” he concluded.

According to reports over the weekend, Mr. Trump had not given to the foundation for some years but used its money for personal expenses such as a six-foot painting of himself. The foundation also made an illegal donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, prompting Mr. Trump to pay a penalty to the IRS.

A letter to the Trump Foundation by the New York attorney general’s office indicates the investigation is at least partially focused on the $25,000 donation to And Justice For All, a Bondi-aligned political action committee.

At the time of the donation, Ms. Bondi was considering joining an investigation into Trump University, one that New York legal officials already had under way, accusing his for-profit-university of ripping off students. After the donation came in, Ms. Bondi decided not to investigate.

In the letter to the foundation, Karin Goldman, the assistant attorney general for the Charities Bureau, asked the foundation to provide information on any checks and reimbursements to the PAC, any correspondence related to it, and “the name of the individual or entity from which the reimbursement to the foundation was received.”

Democrats have wanted an investigation of the Trump Foundation, accusing it of engaging in the same money shell-games, and pay-to-play bribes that Republicans say the Clinton Foundation engages in.

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In a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, all the Democratic lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee requested that she investigate the Bondi donation.

“This fact pattern indicates that these payments may have influenced Mrs. Bondi’s official decision not to participate in litigation against Mr. Trump. A number of criminal statutes would appear to be implicated by this course of conduct,” they wrote.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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