The 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.
We recently discussed the dubious research grant on lesbian drinking habits. Now, researchers in Switzerland have used a research grant to establish what would seem the most obvious fact known to most anyone over 10: drinking a single glass of beer can make people more sociable. It turns out that Mackeson Beer was right: “It looks good, it tastes good, and by golly it does you good.”
Clinton lawyers must have been wincing yesterday as former President Bill Clinton sought to defuse the criticism of the Clintons in accepting money from a wide variety of businesses and foreign parties (including dubious donors) with interests before the State Department. Bill Clinton took to the airways to insist that it is perfectly natural for donors to seek favors at the State Department and that he and Hillary trusted government officials to do the right thing in dealing with such requested favors. That is hardly going to help. Even if you dismiss the controversy with an “everyone does it” defense, the problem remains that Hillary Clinton was not some politician but the Secretary of State and the donors were seeking official actions by the United States government. It sounds like an admission that some wanted to “pay and play” but the Clinton left it to others to refuse to play.
There is a bizarre twist to the most recent bombing in New York and the wounding of alleged terrorist Ahmad Rahami. The Rahami family filed a federal lawsuit in April 2011 that claimed that they were being targeted solely due to discrimination against Muslims and profiled by the government. The 11 count lawsuit named the City of Elizabeth, the Elizabeth Police Department, six Elizabeth police officers, chief of police Ronald Simon and police director James Cosgrove. Given the real prejudices that Muslim families face today, there is reason to fear that the situation could become far worse. Donald Trump has called for profiling while Hillary Clinton has called for tougher Visa rules. Notably, a news report indicates that his father actually contacted police two years ago to say that he believed that his son was a terrorist. Thus, the family appears to have rejected his extreme views — precisely the type of tip that the government has sought to generate by working closely with the Muslim community.
The campaign just got even more heated with questions again raised over the media’s balance in reporting. First, David Brock is back in the news. Brock has been widely attacked for what critics view as sleazy and vicious work on behalf of Hillary Clinton. You may recall Bernie Sanders denouncing Clinton for her continued alliance with Brock and use of his controversial PAC organizations. Clinton has refused to denounced Brock or to discourage Democrats from working with or contributing to his PACs. Now, Brock has offered money to anyone who produces damaging video or audio tapes against Trump. In the meantime, Sidney Blumenthal is back in the news. Blumenthal has long been denounced as an “attack dog” for Clinton and something of a rumor spreader. He was so radioactive that the Obama Administration took the rare step to blocking Clinton’s effort to bring Blumenthal into the State Department. Blumenthal earned the nickname “Sid Vicious” for what critics call his lethal targeting of anyone who is a political threat to Clinton. However, Clinton has refused to separate herself from Blumenthal and he continues to be a close confidant. Now, after virtually all of the media from CNN to the New York Times insisted that Trump had lied about Clinton playing the birther card before Trump, reporters have stated that indeed it was not just a couple of Clinton campaign workers (who either resigned or were later fired) but Blumenthal who spread that claim in 2008. Blumenthal denies the story, but the journalist insists that Blumenthal personally pressured him to pursue the story and told him that Obama was born in Kenya. The most recent controversies again raise questions of the Clinton camps use of such people and the media’s reporting.
Marquita Alston, 24, was a teacher at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School who pleaded guilty to five counts of statutory rape with five different 17-year old boys, including encounters on school property. What is very surprising is that five counts of statutory rape by a teacher results in no jail time and only five years of probation.
Travis Tarrants, 40, has the distinctions of not just being accused of being a stalker but a stalker with a dead animal fetish. Oh, I forgot, he really really wanted to teach fourth graders in French Lick, Indiana.