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Eric Trump to end personal charity amid ethics questions

By Eric DuVall
Eric Trump to end personal charity amid ethics questions
Eric Trump, President-elect Donald Trump's middle son, said this week he would shut down his charitable foundation amid questiones over whether its fundraising would cause ethical problems. The Eric Trump Foundation primarlily raised money for St. Jude, a pediatric cancer center in Memphis. Pool photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Eric Trump, son of President-elect Donald Trump, said Thursday he would end his charitable foundation amid questions over whether fundraising would create ethical problems.

Eric Trump's personal charitable foundation was largely a vehicle to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a pediatric cancer center in Memphis. The Eric Trump Foundation committed $20 million to St. Jude, where a surgery room and patient treatment room bear the foundation -- and thus his own -- name.

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The foundation primarily leveraged money through a golf tournament and auctioning off personal meetings with the younger Trump and his siblings, The Washington Post reported.

Trump told the Post he regretted shutting down the charity, one day after he told The New York Times he would step away from running it, but allow the charitable donations to continue.

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Small-dollar donations to the Eric Trump Foundation come from a variety of sources throughout the Trump family's business empire. For instance, guests at Trump hotels are given the option of making a small donation to St. Jude, money that is routed through the Eric Trump Foundation.

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The Trump family has raised ethical concerns after a string of charity auctions, commonplace in the business world but unheard of in politics, where they sought to raise money through charity auctions for face time with family members.

Ivanka Trump, the president-elect's daughter, recently auctioned off a chance to have coffee with her. The bidding topped $72,000 before the auction was halted. Multiple bidders openly said they hoped to use the sit-down as a conduit to pass along policy proposals for the incoming administration.

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In another instance, a charitable group dubbed the Opening Day Foundation created recently with the apparent consent of Eric Trump and his brother, Donald Trump Jr., sought a charitable contribution of $500,000 or $1 million for the chance to go on a multi-day hunting trip with one of the brothers. The Trump brothers were initially listed as directors of the Opening Day Foundation, but the Trump transition team has since disavowed any prior knowledge of the foundation's operation and their names were removed after its existence was reported by the campaign finance watchdog group, the Center for Public Integrity.

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