Melania Trump charity event under investigation for possibly breaking Florida fundraising laws

The former First Lady claimed the proceeds of an event would go to her ‘Be Best’ campaign, but no charity with that name appears to be registered in Florida

Io Dodds
San Francisco
Monday 14 February 2022 09:43 EST
Melania Trump on her initiative BeBest whcih aims to 'take care of the next generation'

Officials in Florida are investigating whether an event featuring Melania Trump to raise money for foster children broke state charity laws.

The former First Lady issued a press release in January saying she would be the guest of honour at a "high tea" in Naples, Florida, with proceeds going to the "Be Best" campaign that she promoted during her husband's presidency.

However, the Florida state government's public charities database contains no charities with that name, nor any related to the "Fostering the Future" programme that the event will supposedly benefit.

A spokesperson for the Florida consumer services department told The New York Times: "Consumer Services Division is currently investigating whether this event involves an entity operating in violation of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes."

That law requires anyone soliciting charitable donations from the public to disclose their identity and the purpose of the fundraising, as well as registering with the state government.

After the New York Times's story, Mrs Trump hit back on Twitter, saying: "Dishonest reporting at it again. Everything has been done lawfully, and all documents are in the works. Read with caution – typical corrupt media.

"We are working with [the] Bradley Impact Fund, a donor-advised fund, to select charities that will receive the donations to foster children."

Mrs Trump’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

The Bradley Impact Fund is a charitable foundation which has reportedly donated money to groups that promoted former president Donald Trump's conspiracy theories.

Mrs Trump's office said in January that she would be the special guest at the "Tulips and Topiaries", high tea, billed as "an afternoon of sophisticated elegance set in elaborate, lush floral gardens designed to inspire giving, hope, possibility, and dreams".

It goes on to say that the event would benefit a programme called "Fostering the Future", which grants computer science scholarships to children leaving the foster care system.

However, the Bradley Impact Fund is not named in her statement, nor is it mentioned anywhere on the event's website. Mrs Trump has never mentioned the fund on Twitter before either.

Be Best was a public awareness campaign promoted by Mrs Trump while she was First Lady, intended to "focus on some of the major issues facing children today".

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