If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest news in the wonderful world of Donald J. Trump, you may have missed the news that the Trump Foundation, the ‘philanthropic’ side to Trump’s personality, has been shut down due to continued and gross illegality in the use of the charity’s funds.
The most egregious example is a $25,000 donation to the re-election campaign of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Under charity law, it is illegal to make donations to political parties or organisations. Thus, the foundation ended up lying on both Federal and State tax returns.
Another example comes from his manipulation of other donors for personal gain at the Palm Beach Police Foundation charity gala.
A Washington Post article outlines the nature of these dealings in more detail, but here is an excerpt:
Donald Trump was in a tuxedo, standing next to his award: a statue of a palm tree, as tall as a toddler. It was 2010, and Trump was being honored by a charity — the Palm Beach Police Foundation — for his “selfless support” of its cause.
His support did not include any of his own money.
Instead, Trump had found a way to give away somebody else’s money and claim the credit for himself.
Trump had earlier gone to a charity in New Jersey — the Charles Evans Foundation, named for a deceased businessman — and asked for a donation. Trump said he was raising money for the Palm Beach Police Foundation.
The Evans Foundation said yes. In 2009 and 2010, it gave a total of $150,000 to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a small charity that the Republican presidential nominee founded in 1987.
Then, Trump’s foundation turned around and made donations to the police group in South Florida. In those years, the Trump Foundation’s gifts totaled $150,000.
Trump had effectively turned the Evans Foundation’s gifts into his own gifts, without adding any money of his own.
On the night that he won the Palm Tree Award for his philanthropy, Trump may have actually made money. The gala was held at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, and the police foundation paid to rent the room. It’s unclear how much was paid in 2010, but the police foundation reported in its tax filings that it rented Mar-a-Lago in 2014 for $276,463.
The funniest example though, of how he used the foundation to benefit himself personally was a $7 donation to the Boy Scouts. It was the smallest donation of any that the Trump Foundation made during its lifetime, which had many a reporter and person questioning why this donation may have been made.
The donation was made in 1989, so, individuals with too much free time began looking around at the prices of services or goods offered by the Boy Scouts in that year. Boxes of cookies were found to be $5, and nothing else appeared to fit the bill, that is until one individual found an ad in the local paper for Trump that advertised membership fees for the Boy Scouts as only $7.
To further back up that claim, it was noted that Donald Trump Jr. also joined the Boy Scouts in 1989.
Thus, the man who had gloated in the first line of his book ‘The Art of the Deal’ about how much money he had, was using a charity to pay for his son to join the Boy Scouts.