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. I have to admit that I agree with Trump about his supporters and voters when he said that he could murder a person on 5th Ave and his people would STILL support him. Now most rational people would take that as an insult, but it seems that all of his supporters here agree with that too. So far all of the posts here show that no crime can be committed by Trump that would lose him votes. That means that all of you who support Trump agree with him on that, and that criminal acts, and any outrage is OK for him to do. THAT is why there is no outcry about his crooked dealings and bribes.

  2. Self-dealing is a civil infraction; pay-for-play, if true, is a much more serious legal issue.

  3. We have one political party with 2 wings. The 2 wings are going in the same direction, only the democrats are going there faster than the republicans. Wake up America!

  4. Sounds like the public light of scrutiny is getting shone on the dark underbelly of charitable organizations.

  5. Olly,

    You bring up many good points and thanks for sharing that about your foster parenting experience. RE: ” Isn’t reasonable and rational to believe a serial liar can never be trusted? So if both of these candidates have serially abused the truth, what then is the foundation on which either of them have built support?” Very true – but apparently this is where we stand right now and I would take a chance with a person who have never killed masses of people to profit the MIC. HRC is a known danger, Trump is a possible danger.

  6. Lisa doesn’t care if she lies or Trump lies. As a Colbert said, THAT IS WHY THEY LOVE HIM

  7. All this talk about profiling or discriminating being bad and yet this is an instinctive part of our nature. The human species has the ability to reason which allows us to form rational responses to what our senses take in.

    My wife and I are foster parents and when a child comes to us that has been physically abused by an adult, those children have developed a reasonable and rational mistrust of adults. They profile adults based on their personal experience and it’s our responsibility to show them that not all adults will abuse them. The son we adopted had experienced terrible abuse from men that had beards. I couldn’t begin to build trust with him until I shaved off my beard.

    So when our public servants are tasked to protect our population, they have essentially 3 ways to go about doing that job: 1. Assume everyone is innocent (no profiling). 2. Assume everyone is guilty (no profiling). 3. Develop a reasonable and rational data-based profile.

    Aren’t we profiling or discriminating in our selection for President? Isn’t reasonable and rational to believe a serial liar can never be trusted? So if both of these candidates have serially abused the truth, what then is the foundation on which either of them have built support?

  8. PS: Correction. . . Clinton Foundation only donated 6% to charities and not 10, as I wrote previously.

    Trump Foundation donated 100% to their charities and not one person, not on Trump family member got a penny of any donations nor benefit from any donations.

    1. Complete and utter BS Lisa. Obviously getting your numbers from the Federalist or the DailyCaller which have non sources cited for their numbers. Just like you don’t!

      Try finding a neutral charity watch organization and see what the real numbers are. Carly Fiorina already tried this and got shot down.

      “The independent philanthropy watchdog CharityWatch analyzed Foundation funding and concluded that about 89 percent of it went to charity — higher than the 75 percent considered the industry standard.” NewsMax

    2. Lisa N.
      Philly T. knows a LOT about “complete and utter BS”.
      Also knows a lot about disreputable news sources, like the Daily News Bin/ Trash Bin he likes to sift through.
      That’s how he “learned” the “FACT” that Hillary only mishandled a few classified emails.
      The well-documented 2,000 + classified emails Hillary mishandled don’t count, because Philly put “his FACT” in capital letters.

    3. LIsa

      You are the quintessential Trump fodder. Your statements reveal that the moment a catch phrase is uttered you are on board. Trump does not give or donate to charity, nothing. Trump has a vehicle called the Trump foundation that solicits charitable donations from wealthy others. Trump then puts his name on the donation and takes the praise. He also uses the money donated by others to pay his bills, buy portraits of himself, and on top of that he charges ‘big bucks’ for the use of his mansions, helicopters, planes, etc. Trump does this in business as well with buildings into which he puts no money but gets paid to have his name attached. It’s called branding.

      Trump recently took 250k from a wealthy couple who wanted it to go to a policeman’s benevolent association in Florida. He arranged a gala event at his Mar Lago mansion and presented the 250k to the policeman’s benevolent association as coming from the Trump foundation. He also charged the association 140k for the use of his mansion.

      Trump is a brand name. Trump plays to the illusions of the shallow mind. What’s telling is America’s shallow mind that prefers cheap gas and cheap big screen TVs but won’t pay for decent medical care, education, and infrastructure repairs constitute the bulk of his following.

      Trump wrote in his book, ‘The Art of the Deal’, that you play to the illusion not the reality in sales. If ever there was a cheap used car salesperson’s pitch, Trump is it. And, half of Americans roll off the lot in their used Edsels.

      1. issac – we have gotten the same rough information from two sources but differences in key items. Exactly how much did he charge for the rental?

    1. Just think if they still had that “Stop & Frisk” in New York, the friend Obama could’ve been stopped.

      Or do like the Londonstan mayor said, terror is here, deal with it.

      I believe in profiling too.

      1. No doubt you are waiting for Trump’s next best selling book: “Profiling in Courage”

    1. Ms. Conway sounds confused about how free money helps businesses. She is usually better than this.

      1. Johnna – people should be mean to Bush 41. He is a RINO. Trump shook him out of the tree and now all can see. McCain is the same. He is only conservative in the two years leading up to re-election. In a telephone survey he was the only candidate I refused to decide on. And, as a follow-up, I said I had a low opinion of him. They could have gotten that from my calls to his office. 🙂

  9. Trump gets some friends to donate 250K to a police family charity in Florida. Then he transfers the money using his name and the press puts it out that the Trump foundation is donating the money. Then he hosts the affair at his mansion and charges the police foundation 137K for the use of his digs. So, he makes big bucks personally by bilking the charity for the 137K and then takes credit for the money he didn’t even donate. Hillary can’t hold a candle to Trump when it comes to sleaze. She’s bad but her bad press comes from going out in the service of her country, making judgement calls, some calls going wrong/some calls going right, and lying about her mistakes. Trump on the other hand is in a different universe. In Trump’s universe he can’t make a mistake. In Trump’s mind there are no such things as lies. His imagination is the limit. The difference between the two is that Clinton’s intentions are the best interests of the nation but she is fallible. Trump’s interests are Trump and he is infallible in his mind. When Clinton lies there is guilt written all over her face. She knows she is lying and yet makes the judgement call for political reasons to simply lie. Trump has no concept of the fact he is lying. Trump is a pathological liar. Trump is a pathological narcissist. Clinton is fixable. Trump is not.

    1. “Clinton is fixable. Trump is not.”

      This election cycle is providing us two ethically-broken candidates, one who has demonstrated that brokenness IN public office and the other has demonstrated it OUTSIDE public office. You declare that the one that has to date been UNFIXABLE IN or OUT of public office will be fixable as the Chief Executive of the corruptocracy known as the United States Government? Whatever magical fairy dust will make that happen will certainly work on Trump. The bottom line is we need to stop this “progress” train before we run head on into the dark ages.

    2. Issac-

      No way is Clinton “fixable.” Maybe, just maybe, at times she can be kept under control so that her less desirable qualities don’t govern her conduct. You can’t say that about Trump, though. He is truly out of control and will remain so if elected president. While I don’t take issue with your conclusion that Clinton is qualitatively better for the country than Trump, to many people it that is like saying that Horse **** smells better than dog ****. It still is ****, and it stinks.

      Which is why the notion that USA will be far worse off with Trump as president than with Clinton as president, even if acknowledged as true, won’t necessarily motivate people to vote for Clinton. ( While I could be wrong, I suspect that enough people will conclude that the only things worse than a Clinton presidency are a) a Trump presidency, b) a president from the Libertarian or Green parties, and c) leaving the selection of the President to the House of Representatives, that Clinton will win the election.)

      My uniform response to my friends overseas who ask me what is going to the result of the US Presidential election is : “A train wreck.” I think that is true no matter who, among the four candidates that are the topic of conversations, wins the election.

      1. Don, Trump can be reined in. But Clinton cannot – she is above the law. Clinton is a KNOWN evil (endless wars, the TPP, corruption, etc.) while Trump is a possible evil – definetely some corruption but to my knowledge he has not killed any one, sez he is against the TPP and wants to focus on rebuilding the US versus interfering in other state’s affairs.

    3. issac,
      You are exactly right. Colin Powell said it. Robert Gates said it. Laura Bush, George HW Bush, Barbara Bush, and literally dozens of other Republican big names have said the same thing:

      Hillary Clinton is no prize. She makes errors in judgement and does not handle her mistakes well.

      But Donald Trump is worse, so much worse as to be dangerous. So much worse that lifelong Republicans are terrified of him. I know the common wisdom with the Alt-Reich people on this board is that the Republicans don’t like him because he’s outside the box and rocking the boat. But that’s just sad sick rationalization. They don’t like him because he is a pathological liar, a blatant racist and bigot, a business cheat, a malignant narcissist,. a crude misogynist, and very probably a rapist. He is willfully ignorant on all affairs of government both domestic and foreign. And they fear, rightfully, I think. that he will quite happily ruin the US in ten different ways.

      Hillary is going to win. And then we’re going to make her do the right things. The end.

      1. “Lifelong Republicans” are the status quo and that’s why they resent Trump. AND they are all about the TPP and allowing corporations to supersede state’s rights. NO, she is NOT going to win. And this time she can’t rig it as the eyes of the nation/world are watching. Time for her and her despicable ilk to go away.

      2. phillyT – Hillary never did the right things as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, junior Senator from New York or Secretary of State. What in God’s name makes you think YOU and your group of friends will make her do it now?

        1. Paul

          Take a look at those closest to the ****. Bush senior is so against Trump that he will vote for Clinton. There is a line around the block of Republican higher ups, past and present, who not only won’t vote for Trump but are openly disgusted with him and the sideshow he has created. Most of the Republican party reluctantly gave into Trump because of the party and its traditions. They thought Trump would level out, not a chance.

          Clinton has none of these bright lights on her side of the aisle, or almost none. Clinton is politics and all the scum that floats to the top after the event passes. Americans have seen this with Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and off the charts with W, as well as Obama. Line Clinton up with the rest and she is no better or worse. Trump is on another planet. He is right off the beam. He can hardly keep a straight face when he pulls off some of the biggest lies ever made. Statistics show that where Clinton has lied a few dozen times, Trump has lied a few hundred times. This is because Trump doesn’t give a ****. The down trodden like that, those that are short on memory.

          If there was an alternative, Bernie, Kaisich, they would win in a landslide. The problem is the duopoly and that can only be changed from outside of Washington. Canada had the same problem as did Great Britain, political duopolies. The alternative parties in Canada came through the provinces. BC was ruled by the Social Credit Party, an old boy conservative gang for decades. So, the people started the New Democratic Party and then the NDP went on to the federal level in Ottawa. If the states could start their own parties then when, say Texas elects a bunch of cowboys to run Texas then that party could then move onto DC.

          Regardless, the first move has to be to reign in private concentrated wealth that now determines the options. Clinton depends on the oligarchs. Trump is an oligarch. To think that Trump is going to change all this is a pipe dream. Trump comes from three generations of oligarchs. Trump was born into who he is. Trump was born corrupt. Clinton became corrupt. For Trump it is a forgone conclusion that it is in his DNA: lies, inside deals, etc. For Clinton it is an acquired taste. Furthermore, Clinton is of the sewer, the horse***. Trump is dog****. Pick your ****.

          The answer to this problem of America as an oligarchy could very well rest with the Supreme Court. Scalia, a Republican lapdog, made concentrated wealth the norm in politics. If Scalia was a Democrat or at least a true American then the oligarchs might have been reigned in a little. If Trump gets in the Supreme Court will be ruined for decades. If Clinton gets in there is a chance that a middle left judge or two or three might just be able to turn America from the shame it is into the Democracy it thinks it is. There is more to all this than who lies without cracking a smile.

          1. Kasich is a bought for Wall Street entity just like all the other establishment Demoncrats/Repuglicans who now support HRC. Kasich was just up on the Hill last week joining Obama in promoting the TPP. What a duplicitious jerk! Ohio has more pay lenders than McDonalds after it was devastated by NAFTA, etc.

          2. issac – as I have said several times before on this board, Trump has been flushing out the RINOs in the Republican Party. He is not going to miss Bush 41’s vote.

  10. I have to laugh at most of the replies since they are funny. So folks who contribute to the Clinton Foundation are to be barred from Federal employment forever? Too bad the GOP and contractors don’t have such scruples. I also remember when I was in the military that we always had a big push for the United Way, and we had to give. I didn’t object too much since it was for a real charity that didn’t benefit my superiors in a monetary way. In the private sector, the same was true, but I had a union so I did not contribute. Then some Clinton supporters may have done some financial dealings that are questionable to some, but that are common to all such PACs, and SHE is responsible. Yet the KKK endorses Trump and his VP refuses to denounce them, and Trump has a tepid response, and he is not responsible for their actions. Sort of a double standard to say the least.

    But is gets even funnier when some folks say that the employees of the Foundation got a raise,but NO numbers or even an attempt at it. This goes along with the fact that Trump is using his campaign as a means to make money for himself. His campaign had its rent in Trumps offices raised by five times the amount it had been charged before he won the nomination. No reason why one cannot make money off of his rubes while he runs. So give more money to Trump, since it will go into his personal pockets first and foremost.

  11. If any of you still support Trump after all of his con games he has pulled off………don’t worry you will be able to watch “TRUMP TV” when this election blows over… Just hold on to your wallets it will most likely be pay for view…………

  12. As far as misusing Non-Profits, here is a great story on David Brock, Media Matters, etc. There are way cool flow charts! I hope JT does a story on this!

    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

    We’ve spent months trying to find some sort of loophole to justify this activity. But there aren’t any loopholes. David Brock has something to hide. Just last week, The Daily Caller reported the following:

    “Brock’s former long-time live-in boyfriend William Grey (whom Brock has thanked in several of his books) threatened to go to the IRS with damaging information about how Brock was running his Media Matters empire. What did Brock do? He paid Grey $850,000 to keep quiet. Brock reportedly had to sell his home in Rehoboth, Delaware to come up with the money. This certainly seems to indicate that Brock was terrified about what the authorities would uncover.”

    Adding to this, Fox News reported the following:

    “Grey accused Brock of “financial malfeasance” and threatened to undermine Brock’s fundraising efforts.

    “Next step is I contact all your donors and the IRS,” Grey wrote in an email dated May 19, 2010. “This is going to stink for you if you do not resolve this now.””

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. I see that we have some low information voters here who lie about things. NAME some self-dealing that the Clinton foundation has done.

    1. randyjet – 40% of advisors appointed for the State Dept were Clinton Foundation donors.

        1. What government level office did Trump appoint to his contributors?

          Clinton gave 10% to charity, they kept the rest. I should’ve donated a $100,000. I’ve been wanting that British Ambassadorship for years. 😂😂😂😂

    2. LOL! You are a no information voter. You are the classic pull the Dem lever no matter what. A sycophant. A lackey. A lemming. Your candidate is tanking so get used to saying President Trump. I don’t relish saying it, but not saying President Clinton again will cut the sting. She has Parkinson’s you know. And, if it comes out prior to the election it still won’t matter to you that she lied about it. NOTHING would dissuade you from voting Dem. NOTHING.

  14. I used to think Prof Turley was reasonably non-partisan, but this one tips the scale to an outright shill for the GOP. There is NO comparison at all between the Clinton Foundation and Trumps. The Clinton Foundation has the top rating for non-profits in disbursing funds to REAL charities and the least overhead. They are better than the Red Cross was. Remember that scandal? The Clinton Foundation revealed all of its donors, WHICH IS NOT REQUIRED BY LAW, and unlike Trump. So we can view the donors to Clinton’s foundation and determine if there is any impropriety. Clinton has released her tax returns for YEARS, while Trump has refused to release any of his. Then Turley calls donations to the Clinton Foundation pay for play,while Trumps similar and WORSE actions are simple possible improprieties!

    I asked Prof Turley or anybody else just what new legislation HE would recommend to cover such things. So far NADA! So the complaint against Clinton is that if a person ever contributes to a Clinton Foundation, they must be barred forever from having ANY dealings with the US government! I wish that were the case for Federal contractors. Then we have the FACT that NONE of the money given to the Clinton Foundation went to benefit directly or even indirectly any of the Clintons. Again, unlike Trump. I am afraid that the Clinton hatred has gotten the better part of Turley’s judgement.

    1. randyjet – the Clinton Foundation HAD to reveal all of its donors before Hillary had her hearings for SoS. Even at that, they fudged the numbers by giving a range they donated in. BTW, all the staff (including the Clintons) got big raises from the Clinton Foundation this year.

        1. No, he paid a settlement. The out-of-court settlement was that the Trump Organization was to make a donation to a particular philanthropy and one of his foundations made the donation instead of the corporation.

          1. No, Trump dispensed with the fines by using foundation money, pure and simple. This is something that only the rich and privileged can get away with and Trump is promising to do away with all that sort of thing, and saps are lining up and applauding him, yeah, hypocrisy and ignorance rolled into one sneer.

        1. phillyT – where are the videos of the Hillary speeches for 300k? They come first and the audit has to end.

          1. Once again stretching the truth. You really have a problem with the truth Mr. Schulte.

            From today’s very hearing. Rep Nadler questioning the current head of the IRS, Koskinen:

            “Is there anything that would prohibit someone from releasing their tax returns, if they want to, because they’re under audit?” Nadler said, without mentioning Trump by name.

            “No,” Koskinen responded. ( and this is from one of your favorite sites, RedState)

            You really have to try harder if you’re going to lie outright like this.

            Go look up the rest of the questions they asked him. They embarrassed the hell out of Trump and turned the whole hearing on it’s head.

            1. phillyT – it has never been a secret that he could release them if he wanted, just like Hillary could release the video of the 300k speeches she gave. The question is, does it put him at a disadvantage from a business standpoint?

        2. Tax returns tell you very little beyond what a person’s allowed income was in the previous year – not even what he really took in. Furthermore, it only tells you what charitable deductions were CLAIMED, not what was actually given.

    2. We have asked for candidates to share their returns because they held public office – Trump has never held public office.

  15. The Clinton Foundation is used for ‘self-dealing’ why cannot Trump use his the same?

  16. How many in the political class today would have been welcomed delegates to the 1776 Continental Congress? The final line in the Declaration would have read something like this:

    ‘And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of “lawyers”, we mutually pledge to each other “your” Lives, “your” Fortunes and “your” sacred Honor.’

    But then again they all would have been tarred and feathered and run out on a rail.

  17. Nate Silver says she has a narrow lead like 1 point. Some Clinton supporters are in denial about how close this race is and will attack hose that say it is. Have firsthand knowledge of this.

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