Despite all of the controversy surrounding the Clinton Foundation, Donald Trump’s charity is the one that voters should be concerned about. The Washington Post recently ran a story detailing the GOP nominee’s potential misuse of charity funds.
The Trump Foundation is a charity and its money is only supposed to be used for charitable purposes, but The Washington Post argues that Trump actually used his foundation’s money to pay off business fines.
According to the Post, two of Trump’s businesses, a club in Florida and a golf course in New York, got into legal trouble. As part of the settlement of those legal issues, Trump agreed to make a donations to charity. That money was supposed to come from his businesses, but, instead, he took money out of his charity’s account and used that to pay off his business’s obligations. What makes this story even more disturbing is the fact that the majority of the Trump Foundation’s money comes from people other than Trump.
The incident in Florida is particularly hypocritical considering the real estate developer’s supposed support for veterans. His club put up a flag pole that was much taller than the city’s code allowed. Rather than take it down, Trump decided to fight the city. He eventually lost and incurred $120,000 in fines. The city agreed to drop the fines if his club would make a $100,000 donation to a particular veteran’s charity. Instead of using his club’s money, though, he took that money out of his charity’s account.
David Fahrenthold, the author of the article, argues that this was illegal. He alleges that it was a violation of the “self-dealing” rule which states that, if you are the head of a charitable organization, you cannot take money from the charity’s account and use to to buy things for yourself or to help your for-profit businesses.
If Fahrenthold is correct, then Trump could be facing legal trouble. He would likely be required to reimburse his foundation and would likely have to pay penalties for filing a false IRS return. It’s possible that his foundation could even lose its non-profit status.
It should be noted that the Trump Foundation is currently under investigation by New York’s Attorney General. Since the organization is headquartered in New York, it’s likely that the investigation will examine the Florida case. There’s no estimate on when the investigation will be completed or if it will be before the election.
You can watch David Fahrenthold’s interview with Anderson Cooper below:
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 21, 2016
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