NEW YORK: US President-elect Donald Trump has said he would dissolve his controversial charitable foundation to avoid potential conflicts of interest after he takes the oath next month.
The incoming president released a statement on Saturday, saying he would pursue his “strong interest in philanthropy in other ways.”
According to media reports, Trump has ordered his counsel to take the necessary measures to the dissolution to happen.
The foundation was a source controversy for the Trump campaign in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
In 2007, Trump used the foundation’s money to pay for a 6-foot painting of himself that his wife purchased at an auction, in violation of regulations by US tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which prohibits a charity’s officers from using the group’s funds to purchase things for their own benefit, the reports said.
The foundation, which reported having assets of $1,115,991in 2015, is currently under investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s office over several accusations.
It also donated $10,000 to an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
The money was transferred by the foundation through an American NGO raising funds for the illegal Beit El settlement.
Trump said the foundation bearing his name has done “enormous good works over the years in contributing millions of dollars to countless worthy groups, including supporting veterans, law enforcement officers and children.”
The foundation’s fundraising efforts were also questioned, according to published reports. In a series of investigative articles published by The Washington Post during the campaign, it was revealed Trump had not made any contributions to his own foundation since the 1990s. Instead, he solicited donations from other wealthy people, then passed the money to other groups in his own name.
Typically, personal charitable foundations are used by wealthy people as a means of distributing their own money and do not solicit outside donations.
Trump is also being investigated for “self-dealing,” by allegedly using money from the charity to benefit himself and his business interests. After the election, the Trump Foundation admitted to having committed “self-dealing” acts, according to tax documents, though the precise nature of the violations were not disclosed.
Trump said, “To avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as President I have decided to continue to pursue my strong interest in philanthropy in other ways.”
The decision comes a day after Trump’s son, Eric, made the similar decision to end his personal foundation, which largely benefited St. Jude hospital, a pediatric cancer center in Memphis.