Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A non-partisan legal advocacy group has asked New York state to dissolve the Trump Organization on the grounds that it has persistently engaged in illegal conduct. (Photo: Abir Anwar/Flickr/cc)

Cohen's Guilty Plea Solidifies Already-Strong Case for Dissolving 'Fraudulent' and 'Criminal' Trump Organization, Watchdog Says

"The use of the Trump Organization to facilitate this criminality and corruption is contrary to New York law and it is incumbent on the attorney general to investigate and take appropriate action."

Julia Conley

A non-partisan legal advocacy group this week pointed to a mountain of evidence that President Donald Trump's business, the Trump Organization, has persistently engaged in the kind of illegal conduct that should give New York State cause to dissolve the corporation.

Free Speech For People said Thursday that it had asked the state's attorney general, Barbara Underwood, to revoke the company's corporate charter under the state's code of business laws, which states that a corporation that has "conducted or transacted its business in a persistently fraudulent or illegal manner" and abused its powers can be dissolved.

The group made its appeal to Underwood days after Michael Cohen, a former executive vice president of the Trump Organization and Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and campaign finance violations, admitting that he caused an unlawful corporate contribution and made at least two payments to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election—at Trump's direction.

"We now have a guilty plea by former Trump Organization, Inc. vice president, Michael Cohen, implicating the corporation in a criminal conspiracy to violate federal campaign laws. This is just the latest in a long list of allegations of illegality by the Trump Organization."         —Jennifer Taub, Free Speech For People

"The New York Business Corporation Law is quite clear," said Jennifer Taub, a board member at Free Speech For People, and co-counsel on the letter to the New York attorney general. "We now have a guilty plea by former Trump Organization, Inc. Vice President, Michael Cohen, implicating the corporation in a criminal conspiracy to violate federal campaign laws. This is just the latest in a long list of allegations of illegality by the Trump Organization. A corporate charter is a right, not a privilege. It's time to explore dissolution."

In addition to the crystal-clear evidence of illegal activity provided by Cohen's guilty plea, the watchdog argues, the organization should also be dissolved due to its alleged history of money laundering, evidenced by its cash purchases of $400 million in properties; its facilitation of illegal foreign contributions to the president, owing to the fact that Trump refused to divest from his corporation after taking office and now regularly hosts foreign dignitaries at his hotels; criminal fraud allegedly perpetrated by Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr., when they misled prospective buyers of the company's properties; and a number of other offenses. 

"Never in our nation's history, until now, has a business corporation been effectively merged with the presidency of the United States to enable the president and his family to use the presidency to enrich themselves," said Ben Clements, board chair of Free Speech For People and a former federal prosecutor. "The use of the Trump Organization to facilitate this criminality and corruption is contrary to New York law and it is incumbent on the attorney general to investigate and take appropriate action."

Free Speech For People also urged members of the public to sign a petition supporting the call for Underwood to fulfill her duty to the state of New York and the country by pursuing the dissolution of the Trump Organization.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Love Wins Again': Senate Passes Bill to Protect Same-Sex and Interracial Marriage

"While Congress has taken an important step," said the head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, "it is incumbent on all of us to continue to push for passage of the comprehensive Equality Act."

Jessica Corbett ·


Groups Blast Biden for 'Siding With Billionaires Over Rail Workers'

As criticism of the president's position mounts, some members of Congress are speaking out in support of including at least seven days of paid sick leave in any measure they pass.

Jessica Corbett ·


'A Very Good Day for Our Republic' as Key Jan. 6 Insurrectionist Convicted of Seditious Conspiracy

"Now the only remaining question is how much higher did those plans go, and who else might be held criminally responsible," said one former federal prosecutor after Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers militia, was found guilty.

Brett Wilkins ·


Australian Report Advises 'Urgent Action' to Combat Slavery in Clean Energy Supply Chains

"We need to see industry, government, the financial sector, and civil society working together to provide access to competitively costed, slavery-free renewable energy."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressives Mobilize in Georgia for Dec. 6 Senate Runoff

Advocacy groups backing Sen. Raphael Warnock call the Democrat a "reproductive rights champion" who is also "fighting to stop the climate crisis and create good jobs in the process."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo