Donald Trump has filed two ethics complaints against state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, accusing him of misconduct in a probe of Trump, who is toying with running for governor.
Trump says the Democratic attorney general solicited campaign donations from Trump’s daughter even as his office was investigating the real estate mogul’s “Trump University.”
Schneiderman hasn’t solicited Trump for a campaign contribution since he took office in January 2011, according to a spokesman. And while Schneiderman says he met with Ivanka Trump and her husband, neither is an official of Trump University, and anyone who contributes must certify he or she has no matters under investigation by the attorney general’s office, the spokesman said.
In August, Schneiderman sued Trump and his business school for $40 million, alleging the school engaged in persistent fraud and illegal and deceptive conduct. In a conflict that was nasty from the start, he said then that “No one, no matter how rich or famous they are, has a right to scam hard-working New Yorkers.”
Trump, who last week asked Republican county officials not to commit to a gubernatorial candidate until the fall as he makes a decision, filed complaints this month with two state ethics panels, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the state Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.
Schneiderman has appointees and staff working for the Moreland Commission and deputized many of its commissioners. The commission is charged with uncovering “pay-to-play” corruption involving campaign contributions and official state action throughout state government.
Trump’s attorney in the ethics case, former state lobbying regulator David Grandeau, said Schneiderman tried to use his leverage while running an investigation to wring out more campaign contributions from Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
“It’s pay-or-pray fundraising tactics,” Grandeau said.
“Donald Trump and his associates will say and do anything to avoid talking about the facts in this case,” Schneiderman spokesman Matt Mittenthal said.
Other potential candidates against Gov. Andrew Cuomo include Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Carl Paladino. The former is considered the GOP frontrunner; Paladino lost to Cuomo in 2010.