President Donald Trump’s charity, which he was accused Thursday of using illegally for political gain, donated $75,000 to former Gov. Eric Greitens’ charity, which he also was accused of using illegally for political gain.
Greitens founded The Mission Continues, a charity supporting veterans, in 2007 and stepped down as CEO in 2014. He resigned from the board in 2015. He was charged this year with stealing its donor list and using it for political fundraising.
Greitens, who resigned as governor on June 1, had reached an agreement with the St. Louis circuit attorney's office, which dropped a felony charge related to the donor list. At the time, Greitens also faced allegations that he'd photographed a bound and partially nude woman to keep her from talking about their affair, and he faced possible impeachment in the Missouri House.
The New York attorney general’s office filed suit Thursday against Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, alleging “persistent violation of state and federal law” by the Donald Trump Foundation and “extensive unlawful political coordination.”
Trump was the sole signatory to his foundation’s bank accounts and approved all grants, the petition says, and with no oversight, he used his charity for personal, political and business gain.
The New York investigation, which began in 2016, found that Trump “ran the Foundation according to his whim, rather than the law,” and “that the Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits from Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization."
In February 2016, Trump held a veterans fundraiser in Iowa instead of participating in a Republican primary a few days before the vote. Trump later represented that event as organized by his foundation, when really it was planned, funded and directed by the campaign, the petition says. The event raised $2.8 million in tax-free donations for the Trump Foundation.
Control over what groups would receive that money, when they would get it and how much they would get was then given to Trump’s campaign, the petition says, which handed out grant checks to charities at campaign events to benefit Trump politically.
This makes the charitable donations raised at the Iowa event functionally a donation to Trump’s campaign, the petition says.
The Mission Continues received the $75,000, unsolicited and with no strings attached, in the mail on May 25, 2016, spokeswoman Laura L'Esperance wrote in an email Thursday.
"As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, we are strictly nonpartisan," she wrote.
The New York attorney general’s office sent letters outlining the case to the Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service, which could open up their own investigations.