These are shocking new details about Trump’s foundation. “I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” investigation finds.
On Tuesday a story came out in the Washington Post with several shocking revelations about Donald Trump’s foundation. The Post found that Trump used money from his charity foundation to pay his own legal bills.
The report shows that Trump used $258,000 from the Trump Foundation to pay legal expenses from his businesses. And, by doing so, he may have violated “self-dealing” laws. The law stipulates that non-profit leaders may not use money from the charity to benefit themselves or any for-profit business.
Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who counsels charities out of his Washington law firm, told the Post,
“I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen.” He also dscribed the details as “really shocking.”
“If he’s using other people’s money — run through his foundation — to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in a while.”
Here’s what the Post investigation found…
- In 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-lago club in Palm Beach, Florida was charged with $120,000 in unpaid fines because of a dispute over a flag pole. The rule in Palm Beach was that flag poles couldn’t be over 42 feet. Trump put one up that was 80 feet. The two parties ended up settling with the agreement that Trump’s club would pay $100,000 to a veterans charity. But instead of making the donation himself, Trump used money that had been donated to his own charity by other people.
- Trump settled another lawsuit against his New York golf clubs with an agreement that he would pay $158,000 to a charity chosen by the plaintiff. But, again, the money came from Trump’s foundation. Martin Greenberg sued Trump after he reneged on paying him prize money for hitting a hole-in-one in a charity contest at Trump’s golf course. Greenberg was supposed to win $1 million but Trump refused to pay him, citing a technicality that was believed to be fabricated.
- In 2013 Trump used $5,000 of foundation money to buy advertising for his hotels.
- In 2014 Trump used $10,000 of foundation money to buy a painting of himself. And this was actually the second time he did this. Just a few years earlier in 2007 he spent $20,000 on another 6-foot tall portrait of himself.
- In 2012 Trump used $12,000 of foundation money to purchase a Tim Tebow football helmet.
- Tax laws also say that charities cannot make political gifts. But that didn’t stop Trump from paying $25,000 of foundation money to Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi’s campaign. And, to make matters worse, he gave her that money while she was faced with joining a lawsuit against Trump University. After she got the money she decided not to take the case.
San Francisco lawyer Rosemary E. Fei said,
“Yes, Trump pledged as part of the settlement to make a payment to a charity, and yes, the foundation is writing a check to a charity. But the obligation was Trump’s. And you can’t have a charitable foundation paying off Trump’s personal obligations. That would be classic self-dealing.”
If the IRS finds that Trump has broken self-dealing laws they could force him to pay penalty taxes. They could also require him to reimburse the foundation. Trump is now also facing an investigation into whether his foundation broke state charity laws.
Now the question is….will Trump finally be held accountable? My guess is not before the election.