(Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump is suspending the operations of his charitable foundation over concerns that donors could be seen as buying access to the Trump family, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
“No new money will come into the ETF bank account,” Eric Trump wrote in an email message on Thursday, according to the Post, in reference to the Eric Trump Foundation.
Eric Trump faced criticism for an online auction sponsored by his foundation offering the highest bidder a chance to have coffee with his sister, Ivanka.
The New York Times reported that bids had risen to more than $72,000, and that the top bidders were people seeking to influence Donald Trump’s policymaking.
The foundation, which gives most of the money it raises to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, cancelled the auction on Friday.
Eric Trump told the Times on Wednesday he had decided to stop directly soliciting contributions to the foundation because he now recognised donors could be seeking access to his father.
“As unfortunate as it is, I understand the quagmire,” Trump told the Times. “You do a good thing that backfires.”
Eric Trump and the Trump presidential transition team did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.
Eric Trump and his brother, Donald Trump Jr., also came under fire this week for their role in a post-inauguration charity event that offered a private reception with their father in exchange for a $1 million donation.
The brothers were listed on a draft invitation as honorary co-chairmen of the fundraiser for conservation charities, dubbed “Opening Day,” set to be held in Washington the day after the Jan. 20 inauguration. The invitation was first reported by TMZ.com last week.
On Tuesday, the Trump transition team said Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump were not involved with the fundraiser and a subsequent invitation dropped references to donors meeting with any members of the Trump family.
(Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Andrew Hay and Jonathan Oatis)