A new legal complaint against Donald Trump's charitable organization claims the group illegally donated to a political organization supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. State campaign finance records show the $25,000 contribution was made in September 2013, just days after Bondi's office announced she was considering whether to take legal action against Trump's now-defunct online seminar business, Trump University.
Bondi, who endorsed Trump last week, never wound up investigating the company. On Monday the Washington nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called on the IRS to investigate whether the Trump Foundation broke federal law when it donated to the pro-Bondi group.
The Trump Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning that it is prohibited from supporting political candidates. CREW's complaint alleges that donating to And Justice For All, the pro-Bondi group, would violate this prohibition.
“The rules are clear: a tax-exempt charitable foundation cannot support a political group,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder in a statement. “The apparent failure to tell the IRS about this political activity makes matters worse and is something we’ve seen too many organizations doing lately.”
Though the 2013 contribution to And Justice For All shows up in Florida's campaign finance disclosure forms, it does not appear on the Trump Foundation's 2013 tax filings.
The foundation did report making a $25,000 contribution that year to a group with a nearly identical name, the Kansas-based anti-abortion group Justice For All. But a spokesperson for Justice For All told International Business Times that the Trump Foundation did not donate $25,000 to the organization in 2013.
"We've been in touch with the Trump Foundation, and the Trump Foundation has confirmed that it was a clerical error," said Justice For All training specialist Tammy Cook in an email.
Bondi's office initially considered taking action against Trump University after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched his own lawsuit in 2013, alleging that the seminar program had defrauded thousands of customers.
A statement from Schneiderman's office said the company was "an unlicensed educational institute that promised to teach Donald Trump's real estate investing techniques to consumers nationwide but instead misled consumers into paying for a series of expensive courses that did not deliver on their promises."
A Bondi spokesperson told the Miami Herald that Florida customers of Trump University would be compensated if Schneiderman wins his suit, regardless of whether Bondi filed suit herself. Litigation is ongoing.
UPDATE: March 21, 2016, 5:30 EST -- This story was updated to include the statement from the spokesperson for Justice For All, confirming that the anti-abortion group did not receive a $25,000 donation from the Trump Foundation.