Donald Trump's claims of charitable donations from some commercial ventures — including his newest book — could potentially land him in legal trouble, and one Democratic lawmaker is pushing for a probe, Politico reports.
According to Politico, Trump University, Trump Vodka, a Trump board game, and the Trump book "Crippled America," have all been promoted as giving proceeds to charity.
The claims of donating $1 million to charity from sales of "Trump: The Game,"
a Monopoly-style board game sold in the late 1980s-early 1990s have yet to be substantiated, Politico reports.
The report also claims none of Trump's proceeds from Trump University have gone to charity, while only a few hundred dollars of charitable giving related to Trump Vodka has been accounted for.
Though the older marketing claims might be too stale to pursue, that's not the case with claims attached to Trump's new book, says Dan Kurtz, a former New York assistant attorney general who was in charge of the state's Charities Bureau.
"In general you can't promote a book by saying the benefits will go to charity when that's false, and that's where general consumer protection laws would come in," Kurz tells Politico, adding Trump might also be subject to New York's charitable solicitation laws.
"If somebody could demonstrate there's a pattern, even if the [older] claims themselves aren't actionable, it shows the propensity to do it," he added, which then "reinforces" the case against the book.
The official most likely to take up the matter would be Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York, who has already brought a consumer fraud case over Trump University, though his office hasn't yet decided whether to do so on any additional claims, Politico reports.
"To the extent jurisdiction exists, it seems appropriate that the attorney general should examine whether Trump's fraudulent schemes extend to his book promotion activity," Democratic New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries tells Politico.
Last October, Trump plugged "Crippled America" as giving "a lot of money" to charity, and Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted at the time:
Trump has made somewhere from $1 million to $5 million in royalties on the book, according to a personal financial disclosure filed last month with the Federal Elections Commission, Politico reports, adding his spokeswoman didn't respond to questions about whether any went to charity.
Trump came under fire recently over the amount of money he raised for veterans
at a campaign event in January — and when it was distributed.
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