Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he will shut down his charitable foundation, a response to mounting complaints over conflicts related to the president-elect’s charitable and business interests.
In a statement released by his campaign, Trump said the Donald J Trump Foundation would be “dissolved” to avoid “even the appearance of any conflict with my role as President”.
Trump said he would continue to pursue his “strong interest in philanthropy” in other ways.
The closure of the Trump Foundation, which was first reported by the New York Times, requires the approval of the New York attorney general’s office, which is currently investigating the nonprofit and issued a cease and desist order to it in October.
The Donald J Trump Foundation was repeatedly the subject of controversy throughout the presidential campaign after a series of investigations by the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold. Trump reportedly used $258,000 of the foundation’s money to pay for personal legal settlements. He also spent charitable funds on multiple portraits of himself and on a football helmet autographed by Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.
The foundation also made a donation to a political group supporting Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, a longtime Trump backer in violation of tax law. The president-elect has since paid $2,500 to the Internal Revenue Service over the donation.
Trump had not donated to his own foundation since 2008; the nonprofit relied on donations from other Trump associates, including professional wrestling magnates Vince and Linda McMahon, who gave $5m to the Trump Foundation. Linda McMahon has since been announced as Trump’s nominee to lead the Small Business Administration.
The decision also comes as Trump’s children have been under scrutiny for charitable efforts that raised questions over whether people were paying foraccess to the incoming president and his family.
A celebrity auction for a coffee date with Ivanka Trump, sponsored by Eric Trump’s charity, was called off earlier in December because donors were apparently given an attempt to curry favor with the incoming president and buy access to one of his closest advisers.