In September, Donald Trump was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine for his illegal campaign contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Trump was found guilty of violating tax laws by contributing to Bondi’s campaign, a donation that was paid out of donor money contributed to the “charitable” Trump Foundation. In return for Trump’s illegal donations, Bondi immediately dropped a lawsuit that was brought against Trump’s scam business, Trump University.
That’s one guilty verdict, but how many times has Donald Trump done the same thing and got away with it? Many, many times.
The Washington Post published a story on Wednesday that revealed, in a review of Trump’s political donations across his business career, just how many times Trump has been found guilty of paying off attorneys general while those AGs “weighed decisions affecting his business.” What that review revealed did not paint a pretty picture of the GOP presidential nominee’s business or personal ethics.
‘Records show Mr. Trump, his family and associates donated in particular to attorneys general in New York, from Robert Abrams in the 1980s through incumbent Eric Schneiderman. The money was given often when Mr. Trump’s companies had decisions pending in these offices. Attorneys general are law-enforcement officials with significant oversight of business practices in their states.’
Eric Schneidermann is the New York attorney general currently investigating The Trump Foundation, which was found to not be properly registered as a charity organization, and the AG ordered Trump to stop soliciting donations immediately. The history between Scneiderman and Trump is long, and donations to Schneiderman’s campaign as he investigated Trump did not seem to sway the AG.
In fact, Schneiderman continued an investigation into Trump University for allegations of fraud in 2014, so Donald Trump found another way to use his considerable wealth to sway the legal justice process. The current GOP nominee donated $100,000 to the Citizens United Foundation, a group which fights to keep big money in politics hidden from the public, and which also happened to be suing Schneiderman for his opposition to their cause at the time.
The Washington Post also reported that Trump openly admits that he manipulates the system in this way, despite his insistence that he is the “political outsider” who can fix that system.
‘As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do. As a businessman, I need that.’
Records of Trump’s donations to public officials to bribe them into making favorable decisions about his business ventures stretch back all the way to 1985, when Donald Trump donated $15,000 to Attorney General Abrams while proposals for three apartment complexes waiting for Abrams’ approval.
The donation earned Trump an investigation by the New York State Commission on Government Integrity, who somehow found no conflict of interest in the donation. Trump’s attorney argued that the donation was just “business as usual” and that it was “sort of silly to flip the onus back on the person making the contribution” when a campaign donation by a person with business before the official receiving the contribution is not reported.
Numerous donations were also recorded from Donald Trump to Elliott Spitzer’s campaign while Trump had multiple business proposals before the attorney general. Twice, Trump’s campaign contributions were returned because of the conflict of interest they created. In the instances where those contributions were not returned, Trump triumphed in every one of the proposals that Spitzer reviewed.
The list of questionable and even illegal donations goes on and on and on.
This is not a political outsider who wants fairness for the common man. This is a man who sees no problem with violating every ethical rule that exists to line his own pockets. Yet, the GOP and their nominee never stop talking about how “crooked” the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, is.
For The Young Turks segment on Trump’s fraudulent campaign donations, see video below:
Featured image via Getty/Ethan Miller