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September 14, 2016

Daily News Roundup: N.Y. Investigating Trump Foundation

N.Y. Attorney General Looking Into Trump’s Charity: Eric Schneiderman did not offer details but said his office will examine whether the Donald J. Trump Foundation “may have engaged in some improprieties,” The New York Times reports. The investigation follows the disclosure that the Republican presidential nominee paid a penalty to the Internal Revenue Service for his foundation’s improper donation to a Florida political organization. Mr. Schneiderman, a Democrat who is supporting Hillary Clinton, is also investigating fraud allegations against Trump University, Mr. Trump’s wealth-seminar business. A Trump campaign aide dismissed the foundation inquiry and called Mr. Schneiderman “a partisan hack.” Congressional Democrats are calling on the Justice Department to investigate whether the foundation’s 2013 donation to a political committee affiliated with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi influenced her decision not to pursue a case against Trump University.

Capitol Hill Hearing Examines College Endowments and Tax Breaks: Amid a growing Congressional outcry over rising college costs, a House Ways and Means subcommittee heard Tuesday from university leaders whose institutions plow a significant part of their investment earnings into financial support for students, Bloomberg reports. The panel heard from policy experts on private colleges’ finances, one of whom, Mark Schneider of the American Institutes for Research, called for a levy up to 2 percent on the largest university endowments. Congress has stepped up scrutiny in recent months of private colleges’ use of investment funds and the tax benefits they receive as nonprofit institutions.

Fla. College Sues to Recoup Naming Gift From Late Donor: Stetson University has gone to court to collect the bulk of a $1.5 million pledge from a late donor that resulted in the naming of a residence on the DeLand, Fla., campus, writes the Orlando Sentinel. Chauncey Paul Johnson, a Chicago banker and entrepreneur and a Stetson trustee, died last year at age 83, having paid $600,000 on the 2007 commitment, which was conditioned on a dormitory being named Hon Hall after the donor’s mother’s maiden name. The university said initial attempts to collect through the probate process were rebuffed by Mr. Johnson’s estate. The federal suit, initially filed in April and amended this month, seeks the remaining $900,000 plus interest.

Jazz Artist and Climate Activist Among Heinz Honorees: The Heinz Family Foundation announced the winners Wednesday of its 21st annual Heinz Awards recognizing innovative approaches to social issues in human services, the arts, the environment, public policy, and technology, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This year’s recipients of the $250,000 cash prizes include jazz musician Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, whose foundation offers instruments and music education to underserved youth in New Orleans, and Hal Harvey, founder of the ClimateWorks Foundation, who promotes policies and products aimed at achieving large-scale reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions.

Medicaid Debate Creates Tale of Two Hospitals in Midwest: Bloomberg looks at the ongoing debate over expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act through the different circumstances of two hospitals within the same nonprofit medical system, CHI Health. The article contrasts CHI’s Mercy Council Bluffs hospital in Iowa, one of 31 states that agreed to expand Medicaid eligibility and thus receive billions of additional dollars in federal aid, and its Creighton University Medical Center just across the state line in Nebraska, which rejected the expansion. The Obama administration is ramping up pressure on holdout states to embrace Medicaid growth, which many Republican governors oppose as a federal overreach.