Even as it was attracting scrutiny for its fundraising practices, the Donald J. Trump Foundation raised nearly $2.9 million in 2016, almost as much as it had raised in the previous four years combined, the New York Times reports.
According to the foundation's 2016 990-PF, which it filed earlier this month, Phil Ruffin, a Las Vegas casino investor, and Laura Perlmutter, wife of Marvel Entertainment chair Isaac Perlmutter, contributed $1 million each to the foundation, while Ivanka Trump gave $100,000 and the Daryl & Steven Roth Foundation, a foundation established by a real estate developer who was later appointed to a White House infrastructure council, and John J. Cafaro, an Ohio shopping-mall developer who admitted to illegally making a loan to his daughter's 2004 congressional campaign, each gave $50,000. The $1 million donations from Ruffin and Perlmutter were made in conjunction with a charity event to benefit veterans — an event that led to heightened scrutiny of the foundation and allegations that it gave only a fraction of the funds it raises to charitable causes.
The office of New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman subsequently found that the Trump Foundation had violated fundraising rules and, in October 2016, directed it to cease soliciting contributions in New York State. After the election, President-elect Trump said he had directed his lawyer to initiate the process of shuttering the foundation. The tax filing states that the foundation had $970,246 at the end of the year and has "announced its intent to dissolve and is seeking approval to distribute its remaining funds to highly qualified and important section 501(c)(3) charities." A spokesperson told the Times that the funds had not yet been distributed and that it would seek approval from Schneiderman's office before making any more grants.
The 990-PF also shows that the foundation distributed $3 million in grants to nonprofits in 2016 — more than in the previous three years combined — including a total of $2.2 million to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Project for Patriots, Puppy Jake Foundation, and other veterans organizations; $100,000 to Central Iowa Shelter & Services; and $50,000 to Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, which Trump's son Barron attended.
The Washington Post further notes that the filing states that in March 2017 the Trump National Golf Club reimbursed the foundation $158,000 for funds that had been used to settle a lawsuit against the club.
Trump "used the foundation as a prop in the political campaign. They don't say anything about it," Marcus S. Owens, a former IRS official who once headed the agency's nonprofits division, told the Post. Still, the filing "definitely reflects an effort to get the house in order, so to speak, before shutting down."