Recently, much has been made about the Clinton Foundation and possible “pay-to-play” allegations, with the media taking a cue from the Trump campaign. But, in the meantime, the Trump Foundation has been given little scrutiny. The recent revelation that Trump donated $25,000 to a group affiliated with former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, has barely moved the needle on the media’s avoidance of asking about Trump’s charity giving.
David A. Fahrenthold of The Washington Post is one journalist who has not been glossing over the irregularities surrounding the Trump Foundation and its activities. In a new article, he reveals these questionable activities and what he found should be headline news everywhere.
The Trump Foundation solicits donations which it, in turn, donates in its name. The Foundation acts as a middleman for donations, aggregating money from others which is then donated and credited to Trump. For example, he took $150,000 from one charity saying that he was raising money for the Palm Beach Police Foundation. He gave the Police Foundation that same $150,000. They threw Trump a party and gave him an award. The party was held at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort, which charged the Police Foundation over $275,000, meaning that Trump may have actually made money off the whole thing.
Sometimes, he used that money to buy something for himself. One of the items was a life-sized painting of his favorite subject, himself, for which he paid $20,000. With a Trump Foundation check. Nobody knows — or won’t say — where the painting is now.
In 2012, Trump paid for a $12,000 winning bid on a football helmet signed by Tim Tebow with a check from the Foundation. When it came time to file the Foundation’s tax returns, they failed to mention either “gift.” To the question of whether it had furnished “goods or services” to Trump or any other officer of the Foundation (the board consists only of the Trumps and one Trump employee), the NO box was checked. An outright lie. There were many other irregularities in the Foundations’s tax filings. There were incorrect names of charities (which they claim led to the Bondi donation), donations listed which were never received by charities and donations to the Foundation that were never given.
Fahrenthold provides a list of charities which the Trump claims he personally gave money to and it’s jaw-dropping. Most have no record of receiving such a gift. Or it was long ago, or just once. Some are affiliated with Trump himself. It bears a skimming if only to see how many charities have been screwed over by Donald Trump.
Fahrenthold sums up his findings and it’s not a pretty picture for the Trump Foundation or campaign:
“The Trump Foundation still gives out small, scattered gifts — which seem driven by the demands of Trump’s businesses and social life, rather than by a desire to support charitable causes…. Behind the scenes, he was transforming the foundation from a standard-issue rich person’s philanthropy into a charity that allowed a rich man to be philanthropic for free.” (emphasis mine)
Vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine was a bit more straightforward:
“The foundation was being used basically to promote a moneymaking fraudulent venture of Donald Trump’s. That’s not what charities are supposed to do. I hope there’s a significant effort to get to the bottom of it…”
Trump claims that he gives yuuuge amounts to charity. But the way in which he does so is crooked and deceitful. He says that he’s given “millions” of his own money to charity. But, since he refuses to release his tax returns, we have no way of knowing. The sloppy and duplicitous way the Trump Foundation is run can give an insight to Trump’s alleged philanthropy. Or lack thereof.
This short video summarizes what we know about Trump’s charitable giving via The Washington Post:
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