The eldest Trump sons faded from the political spotlight for a few months, but they’re back with a vengeance. Eric has been particularly visible while ranting to Sean Hannity that his father’s critics are “not even people.” Much worse are allegations (as revealed by Forbes) that the Trump Organization siphoned child cancer donations from the Eric Trump Foundation. As one would expect, this drew a firestorm of criticism — not only for the self-dealing aspect of the story but because donors were under the impression that their $500,000 would only go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The Washington Post‘s David Fahrenthold also called Eric out for misleading him on questions about his foundation, and now, the New York Attorney General has taken notice. Forbes reports that Communications Director Eric Soufer has confirmed that the NY AG is “looking into” the reports, but as with all Trump matters, there’s another wrinkle. It seems that the Donald’s foundation also transferred some money to Eric’s foundation for another purpose, and overall, there’s some unusual back-and-forth going on:
“The interaction between the Donald J. Trump Foundation and the Eric Trump Foundation is a novel aspect to this situation,” says Marcus Owens, who used to run the nonprofit division of the IRS. “It’s not often that you have a father and son set of foundations that are both under investigation by the same attorney general for basically misusing assets and interacting with each other in ways that cause assets to be used for non-charitable purposes.”
In addition, Forbes notes that multiple groups paid for Trump-course golf tournaments after receiving donations from Eric’s foundation. He also reportedly used some donation money (although it isn’t clear whether these dollars were for St. Jude) for some unorthodox purchases, which include a $25,000 auction bid for a painting that he hung in his home. There are a few other weird foundation purchases of note, such as a $1,600 antique bottle washer. Here’s what Owens had to say about this:
“The purchase of the painting and the personal use of the painting is a classic misuse of funds. It’s the same problem that the Donald J. Trump Foundation had.”
Needless to say, Owens — who used to run the IRS’ nonprofit division — says there are several red flags that may indicate the violation of New York state laws. Like father, like son?