It looks like Donald Trump was using his Trump Foundation as a giant slush fund to pay off legal problems, buy gifts for himself or his businesses, and other non-charitable uses. So far, the Washington Post has found about a quarter of a million dollars of other people’s money (contributed by donors who thought they were giving to a charity) that was used illegally.
A common pattern is that in order to settle a lawsuit, Trump offers to donate money to a charity of the other side’s choosing. Trump then takes money donated to his charity to fulfill that obligation. So Trump is not out any of his money for what was supposed to be a penalty, and the donors still get a tax deduction for their charity.
For example, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club was fined $120,000 by the town of Palm Beach, FL, for violating city ordinances, but Trump settled by agreeing to donate $100,000 to a charity for veterans. Instead, the money came from the Trump Foundation.
Trump also used foundation money to buy advertisements promoting his chain of hotels.
Seth Meyers humorously presents the damning details:
A lawyer who advises large charities called the illegal expenditures of foundation money “really shocking” and said “I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen. 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 awhile.” Self-dealing is using charity money for personal enrichment, which is illegal.
Of course, we’ve already mention the money Trump had the foundation donate to a political group supporting the Florida Attorney General, who then dropped a fraud investigation against Trump University.
The list of illegal donations goes on and on.
I am finding it increasingly embarrassing that 40% of our country hasn’t figured out what a huckster and con man Trump is, and still plan to vote for him for president.
UPDATE: Of course, Trump attacked the Washington Post for their story, saying it was “peppered with inaccuracies”, but didn’t refute any of the story’s facts. He can’t, really, because all the facts came from the Trump Foundations tax returns, which (as a charity) are public. One has to wonder what illegal shenanigans we could find in Trump’s personal tax returns if he was this shoddy in his foundation returns.
But apparently, facts are completely not important to Trump supporters:
Also published on Medium.