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NH Trump supporters mentioned in NY's lawsuit against president and three of his children

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader

June 14. 2018 9:36PM
From left, Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump, Vanessa Trump, and Jared Kushner. (REUTERS\/Kevin Lamarque)



A longtime New Hampshire political operative and state devotee of President Trump figured prominently in the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit that seeks to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

In a lengthy, scathing assault, the New York prosecutor accused the charity of illegal coordination with the 2016 presidential campaign along with self-dealing and serial violations of federal campaign laws. (Lawsuit can be viewed here https://on.ny.gov/2lbdv0V or below).

Barely a month on the job, new Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood said President Trump and his three eldest children engaged in “persistently illegal conduct,” called for the Trumps to face a 10-year ban from serving on any nonprofit organizations and to pay at least $2.8 million in restitution and penalties.

“As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Underwood said

“This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the foundation accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”

An upset Trump angrily tweeted Thursday morning Underwood’s disgraced predecessor, former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, had been pursuing this case for months but appeared to be backing off.

“Schneiderman, who ran the Clinton campaign in New York, never had the guts to bring this ridiculous case, which lingered in their office for almost 2 years,” Trump tweeted. “Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle.”

Schneiderman abruptly left office after several women accused him of sexual harassment and domestic violence.

Underwood, a career staffer, has said she won’t be seeking the permanent post as attorney general this fall.

The lawsuit contains many allegations of improper spending by the Trump Foundation including $158,000 to settle a lawsuit with a golfer who said he was denied a $1 million prize for winning a hole-in-one contest at a Trump-owned golf course and $10,000 for a Trump portrait that hung at one of his hotels.

But the central focus is a fund-raising campaign for veterans that Trump championed during January 2016 while boycotting a televised debate that Fox News had sponsored.

Corey Lewandowski, left, and Al Baldasaro (REUTERS (left); FILE (right))

According to the lawsuit, Corey Lewandowski of Windham, Trump’s former campaign manager, was the conduit for deciding which veteran groups would get large checks from the Trump Foundation.

The suit states Allen Weisselberg, a Trump organization worker listed as the treasurer for the Trump Foundation, reached out to Lewandowski about which groups to reward.

“At one point, Lewandowski emailed Weisselberg to ask if the Trump Foundation’s money could be ready to distribute during Trump’s last campaign events before the Iowa caucuses: “Is there any way we can make some disbursements from the proceeds of the fundraiser this week while in Iowa? Specifically on Saturday,” Lewandowski wrote, in an email, the lawsuit states.

Then Trump himself just days before the Iowa caucus vote said his generosity was paying political dividends.

“This was in lieu, and, by the way, the poll numbers just came down from New Hampshire, I went through the roof, I think they respect the fact that I, that we stand up for our rights,” Trump said at one Iowa rally.

Lewandowski, who was not a target of the lawsuit, did not respond to a request for comment.

Just before the caucus, the suit alluded to a visit in Iowa from a prominent New Hampshire backer, state Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry.

“During his speech, Mr. Baldasaro applauded Mr. Trump’s fund-raising efforts for the veterans charities, and repeated his endorsement of Mr. Trump’s candidacy.”

A senior adviser to Trump’s campaign on veteran issues, Baldasaro called this lawsuit part of the “witch hunt” by political enemies and maintains it is backfiring among voters.

“The people are seeing through this garbage, this witch hunt and that they can’t get over having lost,” Baldasaro said.

“This is backfiring big time on them. Look at the poll numbers for Trump especially among Republicans, they are the highest among his own party for a sitting President since 9/11.”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said it was appropriate for Trump’s New Hampshire supporters to be linked to this suit.

“This is just more evidence of the rampant corruption of the Trump campaign,” Buckley said. “It is not surprising those two characters are neck deep into the swamp.”

klandrigan@unionleader.com; The Washington Post contributed to this report.

The lawsuit filing can be viewed below:



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