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Trump Foundation Can't Be Dismantled While It's Under Investigation, Says New York AG

Trump had promised to dissolve his charity, which is under investigation for alleged self-dealing, before he takes office in January

Donald Trump speaking from behind a podium that says "Merry Christmas USA"

Donations to the Trump Foundation were used to purchase a painting of the president-elect, tax filings revealed. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

President-elect Donald Trump will be legally barred from fulfilling his promise to dissolve the Trump Foundation before he takes office in January because the charity is still under investigation, said a spokesperson for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Tuesday.

Trump vowed Saturday that the foundation would be shuttered as part of a supposed effort to disentangle himself from his many conflicts of interest.

The New York attorney general's office countered that statement on Tuesday, reported the Associated Press. "The Trump foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," said Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for Schneiderman.

Since late September, when Washington Post reporting sparked Schneiderman's investigation into the foundation's potentially illegal activity, the charity has been the site of one of many legal battles facing the incoming Trump administration.

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AP describes the allegedly fraudulent use of Trump Foundation funds, which included using charitable donations to settle lawsuits and to purchase a painting of Trump:

Trump's charity has admitted that it violated IRS regulations barring it from using its money or assets to benefit Trump, his family, his companies, or substantial contributors to the foundation.

The admissions by the Donald J. Trump Foundation were in a 2015 tax filing made public after a presidential election in which it was revealed that Trump has used the charity to settle lawsuits, make a $25,000 political contribution and purchase items, such as a painting of himself, that was displayed at one of his properties.

The attorney general's office had ordered Trump to stop raising money through his charity in October, after Schneiderman opened the investigation, when it emerged that the charity had failed to register with the state and to disclose annual financial reports, both of which are legally required in New York.

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