While much of the coverage of the presidential campaign has focused on Hillary Clinton’s private-public sector ties, House Democrats on Wednesday called for a Justice Department probe into the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
“When you have a case that appears this blatant, this obvious,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). “It just makes sense for the Department of Justice to investigate it.”
Their concerns — and the New York attorney general’s — center on a curiously timed contribution from the Republican nominee to Pam Bondi, the attorney general of Florida. The donation was delivered in the weeks after her office said it would consider joining a lawsuit against his for-profit Trump University. Soon after she received the contribution from Trump’s foundation, she dropped the investigation.
Trump has defended his educational program, but recently paid a fine to the government for illegally contributing to Bondi’s political committee from his foundation, rather than his personal checkbook.
Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, told CNN on Tuesday that he had been investigating the Trump Foundation in the context of the laws governing charities in New York.
Trump’s Bondi issue has given Democrats the opportunity to turn the tables on the Republicans over allegations of impropriety after spending weeks defending attacks on The Clinton Foundation.
Nadler, who joined other Democrats in signing a letter this week to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging her to investigate, noted that Trump has bragged about playing the system in the past. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last year, for example, the New York businessman said: “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”
Nadler charged that the same thing happened with Bondi.
“People who are caught rigging the system should go to jail, not the White House,” Nadler said.