Donald Trump donated about $140,000 to state attorneys general or candidates for the office between 2001 and 2003, some of whom were reviewing cases or decisions that would impact the real estate mogul’s business, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Trump in particular donated to several attorneys general in New York going back to the 1980s, up to the current attorney general, Democrat Eric Schneiderman, according to records reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal’s report follows the news that Trump had to pay a $2,500 penalty to the Internal Revenue Service for an improper donation the Trump Foundation made to a group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi’s office ultimately did not join a lawsuit filed against Trump University by the New York attorney general.
In 1985, Trump pledged a $15,000 donation to Robert Abrams, then the attorney general of New York, while the attorney general’s office was considering proposals from Trump to convert co-op apartments into condominiums, according to a report by the New York State Commission on Government Integrity reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The commission did not find a conflict of interest, according to the Journal.
Several attorneys general who received donations from Trump while considering proposals or cases from the real estate mogul returned the checks or later donated the money to charity, including Schneiderman, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump also held a fundraiser for Spitzer, Cynthia Darrison, a former fundraiser for Spitzer, told the Journal. Spitzer did not return those donations.
Several attorneys general have policies of asking donors to fill out a slip if they had business before the office, which would then prompt the office to return the donation.
Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s general counsel, told the Wall Street Journal that the expectation for donors to self-report potential conflicts of interest was “politics as usual.”
“It’s sort of silly to flip the onus back on the person making the contribution,” he said.
Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.