Trump to dissolve foundation

Washington, Dec 25 (IANS) US President-elect Donald Trump said that he will dissolve the Trump Foundation, as part of efforts to untangle himself of conflicts of interest before he is sworn into office on January 20, 2017.

Trump said in a statement on Saturday that he was dismantling the foundation “to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as President,” CNN reported.

He also said recently that he will announce steps next month to separate himself from his business, the Trump Organisation, to avoid conflicts of interest as the 45th President of the US, even though he has repeatedly suggested such steps are unnecessary.

According to sources, the real-estate mogul’s decision suggests the President-elect is prepared to take some steps to avoid potential conflicts of interest, but offers little indication into whether he will employ a similar approach to the multi-billion-dollar company he has spent decades building.

Trump on Saturday touted the money the foundation has donated over the years to veterans, law enforcement and children’s groups and said that he intends to pursue his “strong interest in philanthropy in other ways”, though he had not donated to the foundation since 2008, according to the foundation’s tax records.

The New York-based foundation, which has given more than $13 million dollars to charity since it was founded, was originally set up to give away the proceeds from Trump’s bestselling book “The Art of the Deal”.

A Washington Post investigation in June found that Trump had personally given his foundation $2.8 million of the book’s proceeds over the past 15 years, and nothing since 2009, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I am very proud of the money that has been raised for many organisations in need, and I am also very proud of the fact that the Foundation has operated at essentially no cost for decades, with 100 per cent of the money going to charity,” Trump said.

However, shutting the Trump Foundation also could allow the President-elect to steer clear of further legal troubles tied to the foundation.

The foundation has been the subject of much criticism, and has admitted to violating Internal Revenue Service rules by improperly giving money to someone close to the organisation, according to a recent federal income tax filing.

The Trump Foundation reported assets of $1.12 million in its 2015 tax returns.

–IANS

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