Trump Accused Of Using His Charitable Foundation to Pay Off Legal Settlements With His Businesses

495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreThe controversy over Donald Trump’s use of his charitable foundation is growing this week. Previously, Trump was fined $2,500 by the IRS for making a $25,000 gift from his charity to support the re-election of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. That donation occurred just a few days after Bondi said that she was considering joining the state of New York in a lawsuit against Trump University. It was a highly problematic use of a charity with obvious concerns over the timing. Now, there is an even more surprising disclosure that Trump used more than a quarter-million dollars from his foundation to settle lawsuits involving his for-profit businesses. That is a very serious allegation and I am surprised that, if true, legal counsel would have signed off on such an arrangement.

The payout from the Foundation amounted to $258,000. Not-for-profits are barred from being used for “self-dealing” — the use of charities by donors to benefit themselves or their businesses. After all the foundation has money not just from Trump but others who donate to benefit charity not the businesses of Trump.

maralargolocYet, one such payout settled a legal controversy between Palm Beach and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. The city agreed to waive a fine in exchange for a donation being paid to a veteran’s charity. The specified $100,000 donation was not paid by Trump’s for-profit business but the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Another payout for $158,000 was a settlement in New York over an issue at one of the Trump golf courses.

Those payments raise legitimate issues of self-dealing with charitable funds.

It is ironic that this presidential election should become enmeshed in the rules governing charitable organizations with both the Trump Foundation and the Clinton Foundation. My colleagues specializing on 501(c)(3) issues and non-for-profits are delighted that suddenly the world is looking at their field. Both scandals involve allegations of self-dealing or “pay to play” arrangements, but also the rather complex rules related to such organizations. It is reflective of the often shadowy relations and functions of some non-for-profit groups closely associated with business and political figures.

What do you think?

95 thoughts on “Trump Accused Of Using His Charitable Foundation to Pay Off Legal Settlements With His Businesses”

  1. Nate Silver is being vilified on Twitter for having the temerity to point to the facts. Hillary is tanking and the race is even.

    1. Nate Silver says she has a 1 point lead. Some Clinton supporters are in denial and will attack those that are not.

  2. More “low I.Q.” folks discussing the horror show, better known as the “Clinton Campaign”

  3. Dave,
    “Wonder if the republicans would have the guts to impeach the crook should he win and then install Pence as president.”

    Same goes for Clinton, though I am not sure about Kaine. Did he pay for play? Everything she touches is tainted with corruption at this point.

    1. Most are pay for play to some extent, PR, and that does include both Pence and Kaine but they are not involved with highly suspect foundations.

  4. Can the citizenry stop this election disaster prior to the election? If not, perhaps voting ‘No confidence’ or ‘None of the above’ will stop this train wreck.

    The elites are trying to entrench the status quo, be it through hell or high water.

  5. So as issac points out, we have two “slime buckets” as leading contenders for the throne and they are both Democrats. You must be so proud. I’m not sure which is worse; the Democrats proud support for Clinton or the Republicans ignorant support for Trump.

    1. The majority of Dems and R’s dislike their party’s candidate. When that happens, they should vote for 3rd party.

  6. Sick of the crook already. Really don’t look forward to reading about his illegal scams the next for years any more that I care to read about Clinton’s emails. Wonder if the republicans would have the guts to impeach the crook should he win and then install Pence as president. Pence is not that smart but is not a crooked sleeze like Trump and probably believes in the rule of law.

  7. Here’s Donald Trump’s economic story:

    The economy is an absolute nightmare. Americans are living in such misery that they’re practically eating their own shoes in order to survive. If we cut taxes on the wealthy, reduce regulations on corporations, renegotiate trade agreements, and deport all illegal immigrants, then our economy will be spectacular and working people will experience American greatness again.

    And here’s Hillary Clinton’s economic story:

    The economy is doing pretty well, and a lot better than it was eight years ago when the Republicans were in charge, but it could be even better. If we pass some worker-focused measures like increasing the minimum wage, stronger overtime protections and guaranteeing equal pay, and make infrastructure investments, then our economy will improve for everyone.

  8. There are 2 sets of rules. One for us schmucks and one for the Clinton’s/Trumps of this world. The former denies it. The latter admits it boldly and promises to change it. It may well be an empty promise.

    1. This is as perfect an example of blind obedience as can be found. ‘The latter admits it boldly and promises to change it.” Ridiculous; Trump admits nothing, boldly or otherwise. Trump follows lies with more lies and laughs all the way. Did you see him claim that he finished the ‘birther’ thing and blame Clinton for starting it? Trump could hardly keep from laughing.

      What makes more sense here is that Trump is in reality a Democrat and is purposefully pulling all this stuff just to show how ignorant and mindless half of all Americans can be. It is one thing to accept the fact that one’s choice for President is a slime bucket, a liar, but experienced in all facets of government and another to actually believe that a slime bucket, pathological liar, who was born into wealth and privilege and shown nothing but joy in taking advantage of the perks: making millions from going bankrupt, sleazing 850 mil out of governments in tax incentives, paying no taxes himself, putting his name on everything from buildings to charities and then charging for it, while paying nothing, etc… and on top of this has next to no idea how things work outside of real estate.

      “The latter admits it boldly and promises to change it. It may well be an empty promise.” Now, why would the oligarch itself want to change it? We know why Clinton gets into bed with the oligarch. That is the shame which is American politics. So, you’re banking on the guy who has made his entire fortune and ego by being a privileged oligarch, pulling strings and getting what he wants; changing it all? I have this bridge in Brooklyn that I know for a fact, you would be interested in.

      1. Yes. Trump is a Democrat, has been most of his life, mostly socializing with other Democrats. He only ran as a Republican because he thought that would be his best chance to win. So when you hear a Republican saying they don’t like Trump but would never vote for a Democrat, let them know that.

      2. I’m “banking” on NOTHING. You are a Clintonista propagandist. A pawn. We’re still waiting for your source on the IQ’s of both candidates on the other thread. Until you provide that, you are nothing. Just a liar like your candidate. You came here claiming to hate the duopoly. That was obviously a lie. You are the consummate duopoly sycophant. And, we all know it. Come up w/ your source.

        1. Your accusations are right out of Trump’s game book. Chapter one, ignore what doesn’t serve your argument and then make up whatever you want to fuel your tirade. Chapter two develop catchy tags to attach to your adversaries. Chapter three repeat mindlessly.

          First of all I, along with many others, have continuously stated that America is weaker as a democracy with only two parties. The problem, which is conveniently ignored, is that in this upcoming election there are simply put, two choices and two choices only. So, as both choices are deplorable one is left with the least deplorable. That is Clinton. On top of that, Clinton is not inept in politics. Trump may be a better rabble rouser but hopefully the rabble won’t amount to the majority come election time, unlike here on this blog and other venues such as Fox, The Washington Times, etc.

          Secondly, if one was to list all the weaknesses, lies, treasons, and other travesties of each candidate and compare them side by side, they would both use up more than one sheet of paper but those belonging to Trump would need more sheets of paper and given the secrecy regarding taxes, charities, and other doings, even more sheets of paper in reserve.

          Thirdly, with Clinton we have government experience of both achievement and failure to accompany the slime, lies, etc. With Trump we have no government experience other than buying politicians and suing local administrations to accompany a vastly greater history of slime, lies, etc.

          Trump is simply put the greater danger, the less stable, the more narcissistic of the two, by a vast distance the greater liar, and the less presentable in every way.

          Trump has one appeal that Clinton lacks. Trump is vastly more appealing to the mindlessly angry, the spleen venters, the whiners, the haters, etc. However, my glass is still half full in spite of the miserable choice in candidates for President of the US.

          I am less of a Clintonista propagandist and more of a warner of Trump. Clinton is an embarrassment. Trump is just plain dangerous. That the US could absorb four years of Trump is a given but after squandering eight years with the three stooges and seeing eight years of progress before and eight years of progress after that ridiculous performance, why on earth would anyone in their right mind want to let an imbecile like Trump into the White House for a day, let alone four years. Trump could be there for eight years if some calamity like 9/11 happened as the people don’t typically change leadership when attacked from without. Trump is the sort, or at least displays himself as the sort, to cause an attack, so add that up and come up with some less spleen infused monikers for those with whom you communicate.

          1. issac – the reason someone would vote for Trump is because of the 8 years of progressivism that has been in the White House. They want to see it end. If you read the interviews with his supporters they are all a little different, but they all want the same thing: something different than Obama and Hillary.

          2. Sounds like a playbook you might have co-authored, Mr . NoSource
            You make outrageous, baseless claims and duck out when asked to provide sources/ citations.
            I’m not trying to single you out as a serial liar….you have several others here who engage in the same type of behavior.

          3. What if Trump has business deals in the works or going on in Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea and he loves money more than humanity, and so tries to stay on good terms with all world leaders to enrich his bottom line and his progeny? Who cares if he’s depressingly ignorant about everything else if he declines to attack other regions because it might detract from his business deals?

  9. Gee, there’s so much money flying around it’s tough to keep track of all of it.

  10. If an attorney gave advice that it was ok to do what was done here, that attorney should be disciplined, possibly even disbarred. Taxpayers who have used money belonging to charitable foundations as their own personal piggy bank not only face significant penalties but can also face criminal charges in extreme cases. On the surface this looks really bad. And if there is a visible pattern of this type of conduct over multiple years, I would not be surprised to see IRS start a criminal investigation.

    This is really bad stuff.

    1. Yes but it’s too difficult and too expensive to go after wealthy criminals who cheat thousands of people. It’s just so much easier and cheaper to only arrest, indict, and imprison poverty-stricken folks for petty crimes and perhaps attacking one person.

  11. They probably figure that the IRS Charitable Tax Division is crippled in light of the Lois Lerner controversy and a lot of their auditors and attorneys have left or transferred. Thus if you are going to try to pull any hanky-panky with a tax exempt organization, now is the best time to try to get away with it.

  12. The accusations against Trump do not incorporate pay for play. They incorporate misuse of charitable donations to settle a lawsuit. The sums are contextually modest enough that it would not surprise me if the decisions were made several layers down in the Trump Organization hierarchy. It sounds like something that would be dreamed up by a skeezy lawyer.

  13. Sadly neither candidates charities and the charges surprise me – both are dirty and pay to play and Trump is over charging his campaign for office space now that he has some fools that are giving money to his campaign

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